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History of Halifax 
Massachusetts 



By 



GUY S. BAKER 




HALIFAX CENTER AS IT APPEARED ABOUT 1903 



HALIFAX *** PLYMOUTH COUNTY *** MASSACHUSETTS 



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HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



History of Halifax 
Massachusetts 



By 



GUY S. BAKER 




HALIFAX *** PLYMOUTH COUNTY *** MASSACHUSETTS 



COPYRIGHT © 1976 

BY GUY S. BAKER 

First Edition 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 76-23197 



PRINTED IN 
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 




Guy S. Baker — 1976 — Town Historian 



INTRODUCTION 

It has long been my continuing hope that the story of Halifax would someday 
be recorded in a readable and hopefully an interesting manner. Ours has been a 
long career as a township and we relinquish seniority to but few other townships 
in the entire community of Plymouth County, as well as other parts of early 
America. 

My association with my birthplace has gone on virtually uninterrupted for a 
goodly part of a century— more than three score years and ten, and approaching 
the time when I will admit to four score years of close association with Halifax, 
Massachusetts 02338. To keep the record straight, I must confess that it has 
been necessary for me to reside in communities apart from my home town for 
some of these years. 

My birth in the last part of the 19th century has made it possible for me to 
have had acquaintance in my early years with relatives and fellow townspeople 
whose span of life has spread across the entire stretch of the 1800's. Actually, 
this is not an old country by worldly standards, and our history is young. 
Nonetheless, such dropping off of a generation makes a small ridge over which 
the view becomes increasingly obscure and faded. And all attempts are deserving 
that will help to establish an authentic image of the span that lays in our "Wake." 

In this frame of mind I have taken up the task of recording that part of our 
actions of the past from as far back as I can reach. Needless to say, the entire 
span cannot be covered in detail. Searching records and reviewing the written 
accounts of Halifax history— that good fortune has brought to my attic— have 
done much to make an accounting of our past seem worthwhile and, also, 
interesting. There is no denying my intense pleasure in performing this task and 
my only concern is that it will prove valuable to those who take it in hand 
desiring to know more about "Our Town." 

In the capacity of Town Historian, one receives many requests that place him 
squarely in the category of a genealogist. It's a pleasant duty and a frequently 
rewarding one since I often come across snatches of information about Halifax 
and the people who lived here in the long ago. They had the "calling of the 
tune," so to speak and it has been very interesting to record their activities. The 
early records have much to do with military endeavors. This fact has been 
important to me in building the story of our past. In my research I have made 
acquaintance with many pleasant people from varied fields. They come 
to me with personal requests to establish birth dates. And there are even 
those who are curious about their family tree. These and many other 



8 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

interests seemed to have involved me in many avenues of endeavor and at this 
stage I wish to confess that I, too, can best be tagged as a "curiosity shop." 
This alone is possibly the motivating force behind my interest in tracking down 
"family lines." 

In these days the completeness of coverage of events and the ease of recording 
things as they happen make it easy to build a fund of material that is at one's 
fingertips. Something is needed to aid in the retention of the substance of our 
past to prevent the flight that sweeps by us so quickly causing us to miss much 
and "overloading our circuits." 

Among my close neighbors were some veterans of the Civil War. In some 
instances, the parents of these men were born before this nation was born. My 
grandparents were also a rich source of information which they had acquired 
first hand or heard via word of mouth from their own ancestors. Exposure to 
such a prolific source of background, along with an interest in what went on 
before has given me a continuing interest in things historical, particularly things 
that pertain to Halifax. 

It has been my good fortune to have had the complete cooperation of the 
three town clerks who have served Halifax since I began this history. Margaret 
Kilroy followed my first collaborator, Doris Hoinghaus. Ruth Perkins, the 
current holder of this office, has been of especial help in this work. Without her 
assistance this task might not have come to a completion. 

I have always had the support and encouragement of the town officials who 
responded with aid to any request I have had. Credit must also be given to those 
who through the years kept the records of our first church and parish that came 
into existence as a copartner with the town on July 4, 1734. The officers of the 
church have been patient and helpful while I have searched through the unique 
collection of church material stored in the town vault in the basement of the 
Town Hall. 

In summary, I have turned back all of the pages of my material, beginning 
with the sketchy past that only the true Americans— the Indians— knew and lived 
and that we, in turn, have shaped into a tradition giving us the Hiawathas, 
Pocahontases, Wamsuttas, Massasoits and King Philips. The picture has been 
horrified at times with the shadow of the tomahawk and the scalp-taking which, 
incidentally, the white man introduced to the Indian. These things and more 
form the vague silhouette that was the very early America. Our hosts, the 
Indians, could have been more inhospitable as we stalked onto their land, 
flaunting our firing pieces and stealing their corn. I have reviewed the ex- 
plorations of the early settlers as they followed the streams that flowed through 
the uplands to reach the coastline. Thus did Captain Jones find Silver Lake. The 
waterways were the avenues of adventure to the heartlands that made up this 
country. Wamsutta traveled the great river to sojourn on the island in our twin 
lakes. The Hobomocks spread out over the upper regions that held the head- 
water of the North River. And into the midst of this, the first settlers of Halifax 
laid their foundations for shelter and, soon, their permanent homes. Through 
the stream of humans who have passed this way there have been woven strains 
identifying backgrounds from far away. Such is the case with all of us, I suspect, 
and my own line has been intermingled with the hosts that make up the parade. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 9 

I am a product of this grouping and what I put on these sheets is my digest as it 
has been processed in my head through this last three-quarters of a century. No 
causes or effects have been my aims— no desire to weigh the virtues of one period 
of time over another. I am not obsessed with the desire to compare— merely to 
get into recognizable form the many bits of information about our past that I 
have had the good fortune to come upon. 

And so, I dedicate my efforts to all Haligonians and their friends who may be 
privileged to come among us and indicate an interest to acquire some knowl- 
edge of us, our past, our current status, and our hopes and prospects for the 
future. 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 7 

Parish and Town Affairs 17 

Churches 23 

Schools 35 

Libraries 55 

Social 61 

Industry 85 

Stores 121 

Military 127 

Ways 149 

Maps 169 

Appendices 173 

Index 187 



11 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Guy S. Baker — 1976 — Town Historian 5 

Illustration by Edmund Churchill of First Meeting House 16 

New Town Hall, Built in 1907 19 

An Excerpt from 1792 Record Book 19 

"Trunk Meeting House," Corner of Wood, Fuller and Cedar Streets 22 

The Congregational Church in the Early 1900's 31 

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church 31 

Congregational Church 32 

Graduation Exercise Souvenir From Schoolhouse No. 3 34 

No. 1 Schoolhouse, Corner of Plymouth and Monponsett Streets 36 

Schoolhouse No. 3 on Thompson Street Near Summit Street 39 

Standish Manor, the Residence of J. L. Jones 43 

Central School, 1905 44 

Central School, 1976 45 

New Elementary School on Plymouth Street 46 

Holmes Public Library — Founded in 1876 57 

Holmes Public Library in 1976 57 

Ticket from Halifax Militia Company Ball, 1871 60 

Halifax Town Baseball Team - 1923 64 

Plowing Contest During Old Home Day, 1907 66 

Ready for a "Joy Ride" 66 

Climbing Greased Pole During Old Home Day, 1900 68 

Halifax Fair Scene, 1906 71 

Halifax Sewing Circle - 1915 71 

First Fire Station 74 

Thompson Cemetery on Thompson Street 76 

Dunbar Tavern on Plymouth Street 78 

Wellsweep (on Thompson Street) 80 

Gravestone Factory (on Thompson Street) 81 

Monroe Chair Built by Benjamin Monroe 84 

"Ye Olde Cotton Mill" - Built About 1800 86 

Sturtevant Cemetery on Plymouth Street (1728) 88 

Site of Porter Mill on River Street 93 

13 



14 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

Palmer Mill on Palmer Mill Road 95 

King's Supermarket and Shopping Center 98 

Halifax Country Club 100 

Silver Lake Pumping Station in Halifax 105 

The Halifax Railroad Station Built in 1845 106 

Monponsett Station 106 

Monponsett Hotel, Built in 1895 108 

Monponsett Inn, Built in 1961 109 

Monponsett Lakes Roadway and Bridge 110 

Grove at West Lake, Monponsett, 1910 Ill 

Halifax Garden Company Greenhouses and Superintendent's Home 112 

Cranberry Harvesting on a Halifax Bog 115 

The J. B. Baker Blacksmith Shop, Built in 1875 117 

Ox Frame at J. B. Baker Blacksmith Shop 118 

General Store, Halifax Center 120 

Hayward's Corner 122 

Rose's Boston Store 122 

Grover's Corner About 1900 124 

New Post Office — Began Service in 1976 125 

Tomson Stone on Thompson Street 126 

Tomson Gun, Used in 1675 in King Philip's War 129 

Wamsutta Stone on White's Island 129 

Pope's Tavern on Plymouth Street 130 

Revolutionary War Monument Erected in 191 1 131 

Captain Charles Lyon's Clock 139 

First Civil War Monument in Massachusetts, 1867 143 

World War II Monument Dedicated in 1945 146 

Monument Grounds on Plymouth Street 147 

"The 12 Mile Stone" Marks the Halfway Point Between Plymouth 

and Brockton 148 

Morton Place on Plymouth Street 152 

Halifax Center - 1905 156 

Surveyors Who Surveyed for a Canal, 1909-1910 156 

Lindbergh's Reply to Halifax's Congratulatory Message 158 

Timothy Wood House (Now Randall Home) on River Street 161 

Standish Place (Now the Home of Albert W. Williams) on Palmer Mill Road 161 

Just About a Quarter Century Ago in South Halifax 163 

Morris Robbins at Plympton Green With His Oxen 163 

Thompson Street Near the Winnetuxet River About 1900 164 

Chauffeur Ernest Sturtevant at Home on Hemlock Lane in One of the 

First Automobiles in Halifax 166 

Map of Halifax - 1734 168 

Map of Halifax - 1832 170 

Map of Present Day Town of Halifax 171 



HALIFAX 

By Nathaniel Morton 

Graywacke and Granite is the geological formation of Halifax. 

Prof. Hitchcock says of the former that "it is capable of being made 
some of the best land in the State." 

Halifax is located near the center of the county; it is 28 miles from 
Boston and 12 miles from Plymouth. It contains 11,285 acres; 
1700 of it water and about 200 swamp, abounding in beds of peat 
from 2 to 10 feet thick. 

It was here in 1676, that Capt. Benj. Church "captured the Mon- 
ponsetts and brought them in, not one escaping." 

According to tradition, Mr. Sturtevant was the first settler, estab- 
lishing himself near the residence of Thomas Holmes. 





Illustration by Edmund Churchill of First Meeting House as described 
to him by his father. 



PARISH AND TOWN AFFAIRS 

Parish affairs were officially allied with town business. A regular poll tax 
was assessed to each member of the incorporated town to be collected annually 
in March or April and used for both parish and town purposes: The settlement, 
maintenance and support of ministers or public teachers of religion; the building 
or repairing of houses of public worship; and all other necessary parish charges 
came from tax collections. The parish funds were also used to pay the Public 
School Master for his services. The body of parish officials could commence and 
prosecute any action or suit to a final judgment in court proper. Also, the law 
provided the parish officials the right to defend charges against the parish and, as 
in the case of town procedure, gave the parish the privilege of defense attorneys. 

Parish assessors were ruled by the same regulations as their parallel town 
counterparts, the town assessors. Likewise, the moderator of the parish meet- 
ings governed as did the Town Meeting moderator. The parish clerk seemed to 
have fewer duties than the town clerk. And, the responsibilities of the parish or 
church treasurer were somewhat less numerous than those of the town treas- 
urer. Until about the middle of the 19th century, the dual duties of the "Power 
and Duty of the Town" and the "Power and Duty of the Parish" were inter- 
woven to a considerable degree in this country. It was in 1852 that the Town of 
Halifax purchased the Meeting House from the parish and the present church 
building was erected. This pretty much accomplished the "Separation of Church 
and State." 

By an act of the General Court of Boston, or at the seat of government of the 
combined Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colonies, the Town of Halifax was 
incorporated on July 4, 1734. As we have said, the early townships were char- 
acterized by the duality of the parish and the town. For the most part, the parish 
affairs were concerned with the religious practice of the early inhabitants. The 
other formal governing action of the citizens became known as the "civil" or 
town affairs. 

A prerequisite for permission to form a township, as laid down by the General 
Court, was that a Meeting House be built before the petition would be granted. 
In the case of Halifax, however, the building was not completed until shortly 
after the town was incorporated. There is no explanation anywhere in the town 
records for this unorthodox transaction. Perhaps promises were made by peti- 
tioners and their judgment and integrity put above suspicion. At any rate, we 
can claim one more "first" in the distinguished history of Halifax. 

The first Town Meeting was called by Ignatius Cushing. The first citizens to 

17 



18 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

be chosen town officers were selectmen Ignatius Gushing, Ebenezer Fuller and 
David Bosworth. Other officers were also chosen at this time. 

In parish affairs, the parallel to the Town Meeting was the "gathering" of the 
church group to sign the covenant and select those officers who would serve as 
deacons. Samuel Sturtevant and David Bosworth were elected first deacons. The 
list of officers elected to both the town and the parish organizations in 1976 are 
so much longer than the original lists that one needs to ponder whether we are 
"overruled in parish affairs." In fairness to this reflection, it should be pointed 
out that many of those serving the town today are acting by appointment to 
positions and not by election as was the case in the first years of our democracy. 

The powers held by church and town frequently overlapped in the early 
years, such as the hiring of the minister by the church body. The choice had to 
be confirmed by a vote taken at the town meeting as well. The minister's salary 
was paid from the appropriated funds raised by taxation since, as part of their 
duties, the early ministers were charged with teaching the children of the town. 

The sexton of the church also performed duties that, in a manner of speaking, 
fell outside the strict interpretation of the conduct of religious exercises. At the 
death of a parishioner, the sexton would toll the church bell counting out the 
age of the deceased in the number of times tolled. A passing during the night 
was rung at sunrise; a death occurring during the daylight hours was tolled at 
sunset. The sexton of the church also took official charge of procuring the 
shroud for wrapping the body for burial. Moreover, he maintained and drove the 
town hearse in which the deceased were carried to their burial places. The 
choice of gravesite was frequently not in the public cemetery but rather in a 
section of a homestead reserved for members of the family. We have four of 
these private cemeteries in our town now. 

The tythingmen had extremely important duties and much more power in 
their close scrutiny of the behavior of town inhabitants. In the "Town Officers 
and their Powers and Duties," a manual dating back to 1818 citing laws that 
were enacted as far back as 1713, I found out that the tythingmen "Had to 
inspect all licensed houses and to inform of all disorders or misdemeanors which 
they shall discover or know to be committed in them, to a justice of the peace, 
or to a general session of the county; and also to all such as shall sell spirituous 
liquors without license." In reality, the tythingman was quite like our present 
policeman. A constable had similar powers. His attention was directed more to 
the civil affairs and transactions while the tythingman's jurisdiction and em- 
phasis centered on breaches of the laws controlling church behavior and pro- 
cedures, and of the moral code as laid down by regulations and practices of the 
church. We are aware, too, that the tythingman had definite responsibilities in 
seeing to the collection of tax assessments for church support. His presence at 
church services was mandatory in order that he enforce good decorum through- 
out the service. 

In the early days, there were two sets of assessors in each town and parish. 
These were elected officers who established the tax rates and collected the 
monies for their respective uses. The tax collections were just a small part of the 
financial transactions of the business affairs of the early settlers. The com- 
modities exchanged in trade with the purchasers of goods, both locally and from 
the outside, were vital to the healthy economy of the area. Thus, fair and 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



19 




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An excerpt from a legible page in 1792 Record Book. 



20 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

reputable dealings were a must. To ensure proper dealings, a system of "Viewers" 
was set up. These agents saw to it that the quality of merchandise met fixed 
standards. Business with local patrons would usually regulate itself, as un- 
satisfactory goods would certainly cause a disgruntled customer to terminate 
further trade. However, this aspect of trade and goodwill was not so easily 
handled with overseas trade though it represented a significant source of income 
in the lives of the early settlers as it does today. The "Viewers" inspected just 
about every item of trade. From the beginning there were surveyors or viewers 
or measurers of many commodities commonly sold. A few of the more com- 
monplace inspectors included surveyors of boards, planks, timber, slitwork, 
shingles, clapboards; viewers and cullers of staves and hoops; and sealers of 
weights and measures. The viewer and sealer of moulds for bricks is uncommon 
today as are assay masters in our inland location, but from my own observations 
I find measurers of wood and bark that would certainly fit into the business of 
our ancestors. Important as well were the measurers of wood, gangers, viewers 
and surveyors of casts made for tar, pit, pitch, turpentine and resin, and 
measurers of salt and cullers of dry fish. There was an inspector of lime imported 
by boat. There were viewers or inspectors of grain in every town; their special 
concern was cleanliness and weight. The sealer of weights and measures was 
vital since his office was a prime safeguard for the public during this time. 
Fence-viewers, and pound-keepers, hog-viewers and field-drivers helped to make 
up a formidable list of public servants. 

The make-up and the duties of town officers have been altered in many ways 
over the years, and still, since the Revolution, the overall nature of town control 
over its citizens has been carried out within the framework that is recognized as 
having come from the practices, trials and failures of people working out their 
own destinies. The moderator still comes first in the order of business, be it a 
gathering together of a civic group or the official conduct of a town meeting. His 
office is an occasional one. His performance was and is to see that good order 
and decorum prevail throughout all town meetings. He is charged with the 
management and regulation of the business of town meetings. Through the 
years we note the growing practice of the moderator appointing committees. It's 
a practical procedure as it allows for the taking of time to learn of those 
interested in particular matters who will devote themselves to tasks for which 
they have volunteered. Quick action on the floor of a meeting has not always 
been the best action. And so the attention and selection of minor officers in a 
town is often easiest when chosen by a "commanding" officer such as the 
moderator. From the very early days of history, the selectmen have been the 
prime ruling agents of all incorporated townships. Since all towns were small in 
population, it was the custom to have three selectmen. At first, the three men 
were chosen annually, but in later years, the method of staggered elections was 
adopted which allowed that one selectman was elected every year, his term 
lasting for three years. It made for a carryover system that gave a kind of 
continuity to programs and plans and thus tended to keep the "Ship of State" 
on a more even keel. This practice is followed in many governmental groupings 
nowadays. Except for innovative programs or a wish on the part of a significant 
number of citizens to change the method of procedure, we find that the Board 
of Selectmen still exercise an overall control of a town. Books on the subject are 
rare but the sheer volume of information to be covered is massive. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 21 

It would seem neglectful to omit mention of the town inhabitants while on 
this subject of town affairs. It's important to draw a picture, however sketchy, 
of the early citizen and his relation to the township of which he was an integral 
part. Until 1767, the overriding factor of citizenship status was membership or 
at least involvement in the church. As early as 1692, it was decreed that a person 
could reside in a town with the approval of the town meeting for three months, 
at the end of which time, he would be considered a citizen of that town. 
Throughout this probationary period, the townspeople reserved the right to 
"Warn" or direct newcomers to leave the town. By 1700 one had to apply for 
the privilege of living in some towns. If for some reason this resource was not 
used, and one had resided within the town boundaries for 12 months, he might 
stay on under the provision of the law that the town would not be charged to 
support him because of "sickness, lameness or otherwise." 

By 1739, town law had decreed that one could only be "harbored" in a town 
or "have the privilege of voting unless such person shall first make known his 
desire to the selectmen thereof and obtain from it an approbation, or the 
approbation of the town for his dwelling there," etc. In 1789, the regulations 
eased up slightly and if one were not warned out for two years, he was con- 
sidered to be an inhabitant. Of course, after the founding of our nation, new 
regulations were adopted in the several states. From "Guide Posts," "Fettering 
Horses," and "MiUtia" to the "School Prudential Committees," "Small Pox," and 
"Taxes," there was an unending list of areas that warranted the attention of the 
authorities. Finally, in 1791, "on the 9th of March, an act was passed prolonging 
the time for constituting a settlement without 'warning' to three years." Since 
their forming, the states have had control over such things as long as state law 
does not conflict with the national requirement. It should also be pointed out in 
this report that in our modern operation of civic affairs, the fiscal aspects or 
business doings of our town have become complicated and involved. Con- 
sequently the finance board of the town has grown powerful. The town 
accountant is likewise important since he is charged with keeping the finances 
well "journald" with a clear picture of our fiscal state. In recent years, the 
assessors have become very important to all property owners. The age-old 
admonition that "Nothing is sure but death and taxes" still holds true since no 
tax collector of my knowledge has ever let up in his determination to play up his 
record to keep it equal to the statistics of the great creator in his tabulation on 
our chances of death. 




"Trunk Meeting House" — comer of Wood, Fuller and Cedar Streets. 
Built in 1821, it burned down on July 3, 1913. 



CHURCHES 

The Town of Halifax, made up from parts of Plympton, Middleboro and 
Pembroke, was incorporated on July 4, 1734— by the old style calendar. When 
the new style calendar was adopted in 1752, the date became July 15, 1734. 
The first transaction recorded— which indicates the separation of Plympton and 
what was to become Halifax— appears in the Plympton records. On February 4, 
1730 David Bosworth, Ignatius Gushing and Isaac Thomson formed the com- 
mittee chosen by the Town of Plympton to set the parsonage line. At a Town 
Meeting held at Plympton on November 1, 1731, the town voted: 

"That the inhabitants to the northward of the Meadow Brook in 
Plympton afore said should have the liberty for a meeting amongst them 
the next winter season." 

By Meadow Brook is probably meant the Monponsett Meadow Brook in Halifax 
on which later stood the Palmer Saw Mill. 

At a Town Meeting held in Plympton on November 26, 1733: 

"The Petition of the inhabitants of the northerly part of the said Town 
was laid before the Town to know whether the said Town would vote 
them off a separate Township according to the Bounds therein mentioned 
and it passed in the negative." 

The next recorded move on the part of several residents of this designated area, 
which subsequently became Halifax, was to petition the General Court for a 
separation; their petition was granted. Prior to the organization of the church, 
but after the granting to establish the town by the General Court, the following 
transpired on July 18, 1743 at the first Town Meeting: 

"Ignatius Gushing was chosen the first Town Clerk. Ebenezer Fuller, 
Ignatius Gushing and David Bosworth were chosen the three Selectmen 
and Assessors; Francis Pumery, Constable; Robert Waterman, Treasurer; 
John Drew was chosen Tythingman but refused the office and John Briggs 
was elected. 

Samuel Sturtevant and Ebenezer Cobb were chosen for Highway Sur- 



Ignatius Gushing had been the Town Clerk in Plympton for four years and five months, 
1727-1731. 

Samuel Sturtevant had been one ot the first Selectmen of Plympton. 

23 



24 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

veyors, Robert Waterman and Barnabas Thomson as Fence Viewers, John 
Bearse was elected with Timothy Wood as Hogreaves and David Bosworth 
as Sealer of Weights and Measures." 

All of the above town officers were elected to serve until the regular Town 
Meeting that was held in the following March when all annual Town Meetings 
were held according to General Laws. The second Town Meeting on July 25, 
1734 voted: 

". . .to provide a minister to begin August 1st for five Sabaths. Voted 
to have Mr. Abial Howard for the first two Sundays and Mr. John Cotton 
the next two and the committee of Thomas Tomson, David Bosworth and 
Robert Waterman had the directive to provide for the fifth Sunday or to 
substitute for any inability to follow this plan. The meeting appropriated 
60 lbs by 'way of rate' to pay the ministers. ..." 

The original book of church records is intact and secured in a church box 
kept in the town vault. It is usually exhibited at the Church Fair— but only 
for viewing, because of its parched and brittle state. One may look upon it, 
but must not touch it. 

The election of the first minister took place on January 28, 1734/5. Ephraim 
Keith received 15 votes against 8 voted to John Cotton. However, Mr. Keith 
turned the pastorate down. Rev. Cotton was subsequently chosen by a majority 
vote on April 9, 1735. He accepted and became the first Minister, serving this 
town for 21 years. Mr. Cotton, grandson of John Cotton of Boston, graduated 
from Harvard College in 1730. His starting salary was 100 lbs. 

On November 3, 1735, the members of the Church chose David Bosworth, 
Samuel Sturtevant and Isaac Tinkham as Deacons. The first two, who had 
previously been Deacons in the Plympton Church in 1719, accepted on the spot; 
Tinkham, however, took one night to decide and then did accept. It was 
required that two Deacons should be seated in front facing the congregation. 
One of the Deacons set the tune for each line that was chanted. The range of 
voices was kept deliberately narrow. Deacon Waterman, serving at a later date, 
could never accept the change to permitting tunes with a wider range. His 
feelings were so disturbed that he left when singing in this manner took place 
and would return to the service when the decorum became more suitable to him. 

April 2, 1738, John Leach was chosen to keep and sweep the Meeting House. 
It was voted "to give him fourteen shillings if he would sweep it 12 times within 
the year and lock and unlock it at seasonable times." 

Two tythingmen were elected at the Town Meeting each year. Their duties 
were to keep order during the services and to check the attendance. Members 
were required to attend once in every four weeks. If they did not they were 
brought before a justice of the peace and a fine was assessed. If this fine went 
unpaid, they were sentenced to be whipped or put in the stocks. The stocks 
stood at the northwest corner of the church until about 1790; to our knowledge 
they were never used. Mrs. Hilda Thomas has the original ty thing pole used in our 
church to keep individuals attentive. They have been called "sleep vanishers." 
And, since long sermons of two a day were the order, there was a tendency to 
nod. The tythingman's eight-foot pole tickled those of the gentler sex and 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 25 

those of the other half of the human family who needed prodding got a firmer 
bang on the knuckles. The two tythers of the flock were stationed, one in the 
gallery and one below. 

On April 22, 1746 it was voted 

". . .to desire Messers John Waterman and Moses Standish and Nathan 
Tinkham to have inspection over children on Sabbath days noons and 
Barnabas Tomson and Isaac Tinkham to overlook them in Meeting Time to 
prevent their playing." 

Thus, at this early date, we have an official record of the organized control 
and direction of the children associated with the Halifax Church. It assures us 
that we were the first in America to organize what now is called "Sunday 
School." 

The first church service was held in the home of Robert Waterman on 
April 18, 1732 and the first Meeting House was built in 1733, one year before 
the town was incorporated. The land on which the Meeting House was built 
was granted by John Bryant on April 19, 1732 as "a piece of land to build a 
Meeting House." The proprietors were Ignatius Cushing, Ebenezer Fuller, 
Thomas Croade, James Sturtevant and Thomas Thomson. 

On October 16, 1734 the church was formed by the Ecclesiastical Council. 
Here we find the first entry in the record of "The Church of Christ In Halifax." 

"This day was set apart by the People of Halifax as a day of Fasting and 
Prayer in order for the gathering and embodying the several members of 
other churches that reside in this Town into a 'Church State' that they 
might enjoy the privileges and ordinances of the Gospel among them, and 
this was accordingly done by the assistance of the Rev. Mr. Thatcher of 
Middleborough, Mr. Lewis of Pembroke, Mr. Leanord of Weymouth, Mr. 
Stacey of Kingston, Mr. Parker and Mr. Campbell of Plympton who to- 
gether with ye messengers of their Churches were-present for ye more 
orderly carrying on-ye said Solemn affair." 

Those who so wished to keep their association with their original churches in 
Middleboro and Plympton during their lifetimes were granted the privilege. On 
this same day when they formed a church they made their Confession of Faith 
which can be found in the First Church Book. The membership subscribing to 
the First Covenant included the 22 males and 31 females in the following list: 

Samuel Sturtevant Abija Tinkham 

David Bosworth Lydia Cobb 

Thomas Thompson Elizabeth Drew 

John Drew Mary Tomson, Jr. 

James Bryant Martha Waterman 

Isaac Tinkham Lydia Waterman 

Robert Waterman Susanna Bosworth 

John Waterman Sarah Briggs 

James Sturtevant Thankful Bearce 

Ignatius Cushing Mary Sturtevant 

Ebenezar Fuller Joanna Tillson 



26 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

Ebenezar Cobb Abia Bearce 

Timothy Wood Susanna Ransom 

Thomas Croade Abigail Thompson 

John Briggs Mary Curtis 

Jonathan Bosworth Sarah Drew 

John Fuller Harrah Fuller 

James Snow Experence Bearce 

John Thomson, Jr. Elizabeth Sturtevant 

Icabod Standish Elizabeth Thomson 

Joseph Waterman Patience Bosworth 

Robert Waterman, Jr. Mary Thomson 

Elizabeth Fuller Phoebe Standish 

Ruth Bosworth Mary King 

Mary Wood Manitable Snow 

Ruth Cushing Patience Waterman 

Mary Cushman 

After four years of Rev. Cotton's Pastorate, our first parsonage was built on 
March 26, 1739. The official action that put into motion this accomplishment: 

"Voted to accord with Mr. Cotton's request for 'Article of Building' 
and seeking to give him 100 lbs— and it was voted that people could do 
their rateable part by supplying boards, shingles, laths, posts or rails at the 
market price provided he or they deliver the same to said Mr. Cotton or his 
order at or before the last day of November next and produce a receipt 
thereof to the Constable of the Town." 

At the Town Meeting on April 13, 1739 it was voted: 

"That Capt. Thomas Croade and Josiah Sturtevant should be the men 
to go to Jacob Tomson to search the records consarning the ministry lot 
of land within the Town of Hallifax and also to get a copy of the same 
and likewise to discorse with sum of wise men consarning that affair and 
make a report of the proceedings at the next Town Meeting." 

At an adjourned Town Meeting December 20, 1742, it was voted: 

"Capt. Thos. Croade and Robert Waterman were to choose to procure a 
piece of land (woodlot) for the ministry and to make a report in March." 

In 1743, it was voted to raise a sum to pay for the "Lot of Land" bought for 
the use of the ministry. This lot was one of the original twenty acre lots division 
laid out and recorded in the proprietors book of records (see page 141). The 
town purchased this lot from George Watson of Plymouth through Robert Water- 
man by deed dated March 2, 1743. At an adjourned Town Meeting of March 26, 
1743 it was voted: 

"That the tract of land which the Town hath bought of Mr. Robert 
Waterman of Hallifax shall be devoted to sequestured and set apart for the 
use of the ministry in the said town holding or appearing to the way of the 
Church Discipline and Worship Commonly called Congregational and to be 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 27 

improved in said town by the cutting needful firewood for said ministry in 
said Town and the same is now sequestered and set apart to be for the use 
aforesaid forever there after." 

The Rev. John Cotton married Hannah Sturtevant of Halifax on December 9, 
1746. After twenty-one years of service to Halifax, he returned to Plymouth 
because of a throat ailment and became the Registrar of Deeds and Treasurer. In 
1755, the attention of the church seems to have been concerned with closing 
out any affairs with Mr. Cotton. Moses Standish, Noah Gushing, and Robert 
Waterman were directed to make "any bargin agreeable" to provide support for 
the Reverend during this period of adjustment. It was voted to stake Mr. Cotton 
at the rate of thirteen pounds six shillings per year till "ye said Mr. Cotton gits 
into some business. All of this if he will call the Church to-geather and sever his 
pastorial duties by January 1st next." At about this time (1756) it was voted: 

"To give said Rev. Cotton 'sofficient' security for the payment of one 
hundred pounds in other species besides money to be delivered to his 
father's house in Plymouth at ye market price-viz etc., partly in carpentry 
and masonary work and also fencing stuff or in a cow and in flax, oats, 
corn, rie and other necessaries. Said Mr. Cotton to give an authentick deed 
of all lands and buildings in Hallifax to his wife to sign it, etc." 

This "authentick deed" was dated March 2, 1756. By vote of a regular Town 
Meeting on March 4, 1757 they chose and empowered Thomas Croade to execute 
in behalf of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax a lawful deed to be given to 
Rev. Patton, who was to succeed the Rev. Cotton, "in concideration of his 
settling down in the work of the ministry among them." This deed dated 
March 1, 1758 consisted of 6^2 acres on which the parsonage stood. It was a 
portion of the deed that Mr. Cotton had deeded back to the town. 

In general. Rev. Patton's period of service which lasted ten years was tolerable 
but there was enough displeasure with him to cause this statement to be entered 
into the records: "That too much at the desk, should be among people and is 
wise as a serpent and as harmless as a Dove." Rev. Patton was to be succeeded 
by Rev. Briggs on February 23, 1767. 

At a proprietors meeting held at Halifax on April 1, 1751 it was voted: 

"That the meeting house in Hallifax should be finished and plastered as 
soon as could be with convenience provided Said proprietors could agree 
upon a proper method in doing the same." 

There were many suggestions for the "finishing," which meant the enlarging 
of the Meeting House, and it was a year before they came to the following 
agreement and voted to grant unto Thomas Croade, Deacon Robert Waterman, 
Noah Cushing and Ebenezer Tomson the following liberty which they agreed to 
perform. This final action took place on March 6, 1752: 

"To cutt said meeting house in two parts from North to South and 
Remove it asunder Sixteen feet, and to put in a piece of that length and 
adjoin and inclose it and finish said Newpart so far as Said meetin house is 
now finished both inside and outside and set up the pulpit In the middle 



28 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

as it now Stands at their Cost and Charge and for their trouble and Cost 
they have so much Room in said meeting house as they add below, above 
and also in the front gallary that is to Say they to Remove the Seats in the 
body below So near the middle as they now stand and also to let every 
Man have a new pew as Near to the Middle as those Stand which they now 
own in Exchange for them." 

This building where Rev. Cotton preached was unfinished for about 20 years 
(started 1733-plastered 1753). The plaster was made from lime brought from 
Wareham in the form of oyster shells. These shells were prepared by burning on 
the lawn in front of the church, where the present church now stands. The 
town voted to: 

"Proceed to plaister the Meeting house the next fall and to plaister the 
walls of the said house. Ebenezer Fuller, James Bears, Samuel Waterman 
was the committee appointed to provide the material and workmen and 
agree with them for the plaistering said meeting house so far as they can do 
it without paying money." 

The pulpit rose above the main floor to the extent of fourteen steps: under- 
neath it was kept the gunpowder and shot. The pews in the main part were 
eight feet square and the choice pews were on either side of the pulpit. Close by 
there were pews designated for the deaf; also in the gallery were two pews for 
the Negroes and Indians. 

As time passed, some pews would revert to the church, and were auctioned off 
in turn to meet extraordinary expenses. This practice is no longer used and all 
pews are free to all comers. In a long, legal document dated May 21, 1853 about 
the meeting house and the division of the pews, etc. reference is made to the 
"new stairs, the women's side, the women's stairs, the women's door, men's side 
and the gallery." 

"Those who own pews in the Meeting House shall keep and maintain 
the windows against them. If this were not done selectmen would then 
require pay of them." 

Entries regarding the pews may be found in the records such as the following: 

"To sell two front seats in church in the women's gallery also struck off 
a front pew for the men to Barnabas Tomson for five pounds six shillings 
eight pence to be paid half year at a time." Voted "to sell the two hind 
seats both on the women and the Men's side in the body of the church and 
to make pews that the floor must not be raised but one inch." 

In 1821, pews were sold in the Meeting House. The sale began at nine o'clock 
in the morning. Twenty-five percent of the cost was to be paid by January 1st 
with another payment again by July and the remainder by March 1st. Each 
customer had to have a sufficient bondsman, and a committee was to settle with 
the old pew holders. No bids came under fifty cents and the Minister could have 
his choice for his use. It was voted that anything due after January 1st would 
draw interest. The money was turned into the treasurer of the town. 

It had been previously voted on August 3, 1752 that the front doors should 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 29 

be ordered as the committee saw fit and outside work to be done around the 
doors at town's cost. It was voted in 1772, to "color the door and windows and 
boardwork on both ends and the foreside of the Church." This may be the first 
painting to occur on any public building in this town. 

Incidents and attitudes that have connection with Church affairs through the 
history of our reUgious institutions included many interesting items. The first 
reference to lamps is made in 1814. On April 7, 1834 we find the first mention 
of stove and fuel. "Gave an order to Thomas Drew for the fuel for the Winter 
past. $2.25." It was decided on Feb. 23, 1834, "Since we now have a stove in 
the Church that Communion be attended once in two months through the year, 
instead of omitting it in winter and having it every month in the summer 
heretofore." 

From 1784-1814 the town clerk cried out all the wedding intentions just 
before the services. There was a new communion set acquired to go along with 
the newly constructed church in 1852. There is still in existence a table that 
came down from the period of the Old First Church. 

During Rev. Cotton's Pastorate, specifically March 18, 1744, the town voted 
"to request the proprietors of the meeting house to give said meeting house up 
to the town." This came to pass some eight years later on March 21, 1752. 
Voted: 

". . .to accept the Meeting House as the town's Meeting House upon the 
terms of the proprietors voted this day to give it up to the town which is 
as followeth viz. "It was voted that the Meeting House and the land where 
on it stands and which belongs to the Proprietors after the additions is 
made to said house by Thomas Croade Esq., Deacon Robert Waterman, 
Mr. Noah Cushing and Mr. Ebenezer Tomson agreeable to a vote of the 
Proprietors at their meeting on the sixth day of March 1752 and finished 
as far as the other part of said house is now finished, shall be and belong to 
the town of Hallifax to be for the use and the benefit of said town forever 
and always. Reserving the present owners and possessors of the particular 
pews in the said house their rights and property there-in when it is done 
according to the aforesaid vote of the proprietors provided also that the 
said Town of Hallifax shall at their next meeting to be held this day in the 
afternoon pass a vote to accept of the said house as soon as may be after 
the aforesaid addition is made and finished as aforesaid and further that 
the Town, in case they so do, shall have the benefit of what is subscribed 
and yet unpaid and that aforesaid Thomas Croade, Robert Waterman, Noah 
Cushing, and Ebenezer Tomson are to allow in material toward plastering 
the meeting house!" 

The following transaction dated April 25, 1854 transferred the original First 
Church to the town to be used as a town house, armory and library. From 
Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 259, Page 258: 

"That Jabez Soule, Ephrin B. Thompson, Ira Sturtevant and Thomas 
Holmes a committee of the First Religious Society in the Town of Halifax, 
a corporation duly established under the laws of the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts in consideration of $700 paid by Eldridge G. Morton, 
Samuel Churchill and Edwin Lyon Selectmen of the Town of Halifax, the 



30 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

receipt whereof we do here by acknowledge do hereby give, grant sell and 
convey unto the said Town of Halifax a certain piece of land containing 
about 20 rods more or less and the building standing thereon Bounded- 
beginning at the corner of Henry Popes land (which is in the range of the 
highway) thence North 79 degrees West 2 rods seven links to the North 
West corner of said house; thence by the range of the west side of said 
house and Parish land to the highway thence by the highway to the first 
bound mentioned." 

This building, surrendered to the town, was no longer used as a church. A 
new church, the present church was erected in 1852 a little west of where the 
original building stood. The original church was moved to the site of the present 
Town Hall, and came to its end in 1907 when it burned. The present church 
had an addition added in 1966. 

Sheds for the horses had been built in 1807 and were located "at the north- 
ward of the Meeting House." When these were built the pound was moved down 
in the hollow. The sheds were taken down in 1924. Several pictures showing 
these horse and carriage sheds in the rear of the church are in the possession of 
the town historian. 

Somewhere in the course of time, after the pound was moved, it was de- 
stroyed but much reference is made to this down through the years. In 
retrospect it seems regrettable that we had to lose such a useful structure. The 
pound served its purpose through scores and scores of years, where it held for 
reclaiming those creatures that wandered out of bound and were reclaimed by 
their owners. The carriage sheds were a haven for man and beast. They sheltered 
and harbored more individuals and their philosophy than any conceivable modern 
calculator could compile and supplied the easy locale for the germinating of 
more gossip than any other space on earth— than perhaps a woman's kitchen. A 
retired minister once stated that as a young man he was advised never to accept 
a call to a church that had horse sheds. 

The original church was topped by a steeple which was erected in 1821. To 
our knowledge it lasted until 1852 when the building was remodeled to become 
the Town Hall. The steeple on the new church, built in 1852, was able to with- 
stand the gale of 1880 and several strikes by lightning down through the years. 
In 1951 the steeple was deemed unsafe and needed rebuilding, involving repair of 
the steeple, bell tower and supporting structure. The amount needed for this 
restoration inside and out amounted to $15,000. Interest in "Save our Steeple 
Campaign" was widespread. Contributions came in from every state in the union 
and from England, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

At one time there was a granite and iron fence that surrounded nearly the 
whole church and certainly encompassed all of the then existing cemetery at the 
rear of the church. There was also an ornamental fence of a very attractive 
design built around the Civil War Monument. Some traces of the granite and the 
iron fence that surrounded the Church still exist and some of it still stands 
across the easterly end of the cemetery. The style of this fence was copied from 
that used in the town of Kingston. The ornamental fence around the Civil War 
Monument was taken down and contributed toward the scrap metal drive to 
alleviate the shortage of metals during World War II. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



31 




The Congregational Church in the early 1900's, with carriage sheds in 
back of the church. 



■if " ^^^^R^Ji 


1 




iPi ffPWPi JB^i^^- "•'. _. ..fWBtema-^'^— ->— — M^^£.-_-..=^ 




^-''■^i^^^^^ll^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^l 





Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church on Monponsett Street was 
built in 1921 by Eliot Harlow from Middleboro. 



32 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



'•\ •" ^' r^^-ifel:^X^v'#i~i,« i ^< 



^ 








„/".■ . ii* !•■::■& .■5?^'' . 



' Aai^, .-."^s^'i ^ 



Congregational Church on Plymouth Street. It is the second building 
(1852) on this site of the originail Meeting House (1733). 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



33 



In 1885 it was voted to tax the pew owners to raise funds for painting the 
church. [It may not be inappropriate to interject here that the last repainting 
of the church was in 1970.] The main body of the church was painted by a 
contractor and the new addition was done mostly by a painting bee resulting 
in a very attractive edifice. 



Ministers — Halifax Congregational Church 



John Cotton 
William Patten 
Ephraim Briggs 
Abel Richmond 
Elbridge Howe 
Emerson Paine 
William A. Peabody 
C. Ash 

E. P. Howland 
John C. Thomson 
Enoch Sanford 
Edward Kimball 
Timothy Brainerd 
William A. Fobes 
George F. Wright 
Frank L. Bristol 
George Juchan 
George Shaw 
James Wells 
George Robinson 
B. F. Fuller 

Gordon S. Kenison 



C. L. C. Younkin 
A. Jones 
Louis Ellms 
Edward Sargent 
Jesse H. Jones 
Paul G. Viehe 
Dwight F. Mowery 
L. P. F. Vauthier 
Isaac Fleming 
David Williams 
Joseph Mayer 
Jesse Dees 
James T. Thomas 
Scott C. Siegle 
Warren A. Leonard 
Kenneth B. Wyatt 
Harold H. Rogers 
J. Herbert Brautigam 
Theodore G. Bickley 
Bernard W. Sayler 
Walter L. Rudy 



r 



i 



"-^y— qjj— c^r-ta-- 




r 



HALIFAX, MASS. 



■^>»^--«^«i 



Pupils 



r Nellie Jorden 

[^ Arthur Perkins 

t'' 

;> Elcie Wilkins 

r Otis Perkins 



Elliott Sampson 
Bertie ShortlefE 
Thomas Robson 
Alton Wood 



i 



ir*y i > <: 



t 



Robert Cushman Ellen Baker 



Nymphis Marston Thomas Boardman , 



i g- 



^ ^ ^ ot leoi. ji ^ ^ i 

4 



r ^ 

^ COnMITlEE, 4 

L Oeo, W. Sturtevant, Geo. \V. Haywani, j, 

f Otl9 Pratt. i 



'^ Arthur Sampson Louisa Wood 

L Eugene Bennett Mamie Bennett 

f Hattie Sampson Gladis Perkins 

John Robson Albert Wood 

'^ Wilford Estes Georgie Estes 

r Charlie Sampson Elvin Wood 
p Willie Shurtleff • Albert Bennett 

k Arthur Waterman Helen Boardman 



a. ,.fR<T«» * CO., fUlV-'SHlKS. ttVir«LV, !!»»« 



This Graduation Exercise Souvenir is from Schoolhouse No. 3, which 
was located a short distance to the east from the corner of Furnace and 
Elm Streets. 



SCHOOLS 

In 1677, it was first decreed that there should be educational training for all 
the children of Plymouth County residents. The school concept was not at 
first universally applied, nor was it free, though the colony did eventually adopt 
regulations making education compulsory. 

"That in whatsoever township in this government consist of 50 families 
or upwards. Where there were families of 100 or more, Latin must be 
offered in Grammar School to prepare for the University. The town 
making a reasonable appropriation. The profits from the Cape Fisheries, 
hereto ordered to maintain a Grammar School, shall be distributed to such 
towns as to have such Grammar Schools, not exceeding 5 lbs per annum to 
any one town." 

It was an admirable move on the part of our ancestors that they were so prompt 
in establishing instruction for their children. 

Prior to 1700, the general educational situation in what would soon be Halifax 
was comparable to that of most other settled parts of Massachusetts. However, 
with the termination of King Philip's War came the dawn of a new era. Weary 
of war and starvation, and with renewed hope for the future, the people dedicated 
themselves to building lasting homes and institutions. They saw clearly the 
need for training their youth to insure the development of a strong nation. 

In the town records, the first entry concerning formal education in Halifax 
was made on December 4, 1732: 

"The selectmen were appointed a committee to provide a schoolmaster 
for the "Town." (The use of the word "Town" is merely to identify the 
locality in this instance. The town itself did not become incorporated 
until July 4, 1734.) 

The year 1733 saw the erection of the Meeting House and presumably a new 
status for the local youths in the way of schooling. For one thing, the minister, 
the Rev. John Cotton, who began his services in 1734, also did some teaching. 
Other than the instruction that he gave, however, any "learning" that was done 
was done in the Dame school. "Moving Schools" or "Traveling Schools" were 
also popular at this time. 

In 1738 at a town meeting on March 30th it was voted that "Jonathan Sears 
should be schoolmaster for the ensuing year." He remained master for thirteen 
years. In his case he also acted as court messenger— serving summonses; choir 

35 



36 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




No. 1 Schoolhouse, comer of Plymouth and Monponsett Streets. In 
1910, it was moved to become Halifax's first Fire Station. Eventually, 
it vi^ill be moved to Ye Olde Halifax Village. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 37 

leader; bell ringer for calling the parishioners to public worship; and gravedigger. 

On May 18, 1741 it was voted that school "should be kept 4 mos. at the 
schoolhouse in the Easterly part of Town; the next 3 mos. some place near the 
house of Peter Tomson on the Southerly side of Herring River (near the cross- 
roads of Elm and Plymouth Sts. today); and the next two months at the proposed 
schoolhouse to be built on the land of Nehemiah Bosworth on the south part of 
his land near where two ways meet." The last three months of school were to be 
held in the southerly part of town "where the neighbors shall agree." 

For the entire century, school was held in homes and then in town school- 
houses. In one instance, one of these schoolhouses was moved about, comparable 
almost to the moving of a checker on a checkerboard. Eventually, however, the 
school program settled into a rather defined five district system. From what we 
can gather from the town records, the five districts were: The Easterly school 
district at the corner of Plymouth and Holmes Streets; another at the junction of 
Routes 106 & 58 and later in the center of town across from Kings Supermarket 
complex which in those days was the Indian Trail; a third school by Fuller 
Bridge on South Street on the west side and south of Hayward Street; the 
westerly and fourth school was located on Elm Street slightly southeast of the 
corner of Furnace and Elm Streets; and a school on Thompson Street near 
Summit Street. 

These district schools were controlled and administered exclusively by a 
Prudential Committee in each district. This elected group hired a teacher, 
arranged for board and room, paid the salaries and conducted periodic ex- 
aminations of said instructors. It wasn't until many years later that the entire 
town was united under one educational system, a development that will be 
discussed later. 

The several schoolhouses that the town built were always placed close to the 
road for convenience. There was usually an entrance porch that acted as the 
clothes room. Whenever feasible, the fireplace would be constructed in the north 
end of the building. Across the south end and facing the fireplace stood the two 
orderly rows of desks with the rear tier elevated. The desks consisted of three 
seats. There were two rows on each side of the room seating a general toted of 
approximately twenty-four pupils. The open floor space in the center of the 
room was used for recitations. 

On February 21, 1791, town records show an order given to Rev. Ephraim 
Briggs for his "keeping school" that amounted to 7 lbs. 4 shillings. A later 
teacher, Ruth Bosworth, was boarded by Isaac Waterman to whom the Town 
paid 9 shillings for the service. Also on this date, "The Selectmen order given to 
Samuel Sturtevant for labor and materials contributed to the building of the 
school house. On September 1, the Selectmen order given to Holmes Sears was 
7 shillings for the use of his home to 'keep school'." 

In 1793, the town voted to expend two-thirds of the 60 lbs. appropriated to 
hire a schoolmaster, leaving one-third of the monies to be split among the school 
mistresses. 

In 1794: "Voted to provide a S-T-O-C-K L-O-C-K for each school; order to 
M. E. Thomson for boarding Capt. Leonard when keeping school over this past 
month." 



38 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

In 1797: "Voted that children shall not carry work to school this past 
month " This insinuates that non-school work had no place in formal schooling. 

Women teachers were generally boarded rather cheaply. The common rate 
for a woman's board was $1.00 per week. Men like Oliver Snell were boarded at 
a reasonable expense as well. John Poole was paid $1.00 for boarding Mr. Snell 
for one and one-half weeks. 

An item entered in 1807 indicates the strong desire to give all the children an 
opportunity for schooling: "An order to William Waterman for boarding and 
schooling Zenaz Sturtevant's boy last year, $3.83." 

In 1808 the appropriated monies were still being split 75-25 in favor of school- 
meisters. It was also voted this year that pupils must attend school in their own 
district. 

Note this unusual entry in the town record made on September 30, 1817: "To 
Selectman order to Capt. Richard Bosworth for his wife keeping school in the 
So. District— $6.88." Mrs. Bosworth was also known as the keeper of Captain 
Bos'ard's Wife's School. This chapter would not be complete without the ac- 
companying story describing "Capt. Bos'ard's Wife's School." It was written by 
Frances Humphrey, granddaughter of Stafford Sturtevant, and appeared in the 
magazine Wide Awake in 1887. 

In 1845 the school money was divided among the districts in proportion to 
the number of children between four and sixteen years of age living in each 
respective district. The Prudential Committees also voted to staff a committee 
to study the possibility of reducing the number of school districts to three. In 
1845, the school term lasted eight weeks in Winter with the attendance required 
every other Saturday. An agent for the Prudential Committee would hire the 
teachers for whom the committee would find a boarding place and furnish wood 
for heating the school. Also noted in the town records of this year were the 
frequent spelling bees held in each district school. 

In 1846, it was voted that each school district should elect its own Prudential 
Committee, reverting back to equal school allotments as well. 

Any school teacher is sure to get a chuckle out of this entry in the Town 
Record of 1847: "The Town voted to have the Selectmen hold up the teachers' 
pay until someone could assure them that all registers were completed." To 
think that the Town should have to solve this problem! 

In 1850, Benjamin W. Harris, later to become a distinguished member of the 
legal profession, taught school in Halifax, Kingston, Hanover and East Bridge- 
water to earn money while preparing for his law career. In 1850, he joined in 
partnership with the Honorable Welcome Young. Their offices were located in 
the store that stood directly opposite the Town Hall (Halifax). 

It was suggested in this year that a new school be built between Eldridge 
Fuller's property and the Halifax Depot. (With the new station, there were those 
anticipating an upsurge in the population of that area.) Also, at this time there 
was the nagging question of "how the school house was set afire" to be solved. 

There were some who naturally preferred to rebuild the schoolhouse located 
on the corner of Plymouth and Monponsett Streets on Stafford Sturtevant's 
property. At a meeting in 1850 a committee was chosen to take measures to 
"find the rogues who set the old school house on fire and destroyed it." 

The schoolhouse problem was eventually solved with the construction of two 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



39 




Schoolhouse No. 3, built in 1795 on Thompson Street near Summit 
Street. It is now a private home. It had been one of five schools in the 
town's five school districts. 



40 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

new schoolhouses. This was decided on October 7, the same meeting at which 
the assembly voted "not to raise a committee to look up the rogues." One has 
to wonder if this should be interpreted as a decision not to blame anyone for the 
fire or could it be that embarrassment would have resulted from further inquiry? 
In any case, it was voted to raise $600 for the new schools; the "Committee" 
was also instructed to procure other quarters for "keeping school" in case the 
new buildings were not ready— for perhaps many possible reasons even to the 
eventuality of another fire. 

On May 6th, 1851, we find that a school had been built near the Railroad 
Station. In June of the same year, Stafford Sturtevant moved a schoolhouse 
onto the corner of his property near his home. (On August 2, 1852, he was 
investigated by a committee to determine his intentions.) At the same time it 
was voted to sell the school near the Railroad Depot for payment of debts. It 
was sold at auction. 

In 1854 the assembly voted for the school committee not to disturb the 
school district. School reports say "The Prudential Committee stands in the 
way. . . ." That sometimes. . ."The Prudential Committees are not good but can- 
not help it for all have to take turns." At times the records show teachers 
being hired as late as the night before or the Saturday prior to the first Monday 
of school. It wasn't unusuail for the times that some families had more influence 
than others. Pupils out of town "voted to allow Lewis Briggs and Martin Lucas 
to draw from this town a sum not exceeding their portion of the school money 
to be expended for schooling in another town." This was for the convenience of 
children who lived near town lines and made for easier travel— a "swap" situation. 

It was also voted to choose a school committee of five, one from each 
district, to maintain the district system; also the idea of a superintendent of 
schools was introduced, "whose duty it shall be to examine all candidates for 
teaching, etc." The assembly voted to choose this superintendent by ballot. 
Leander Waterman became the first superintendent. It was also voted "not to 
disturb the school's districting practice." The school report which was read and 
accepted by the assemblage pointed out that the terribly poor attendance at 
school that year had been the result of storms, measles and whooping cough. 
At this point in the school committee's report we came across a reference to a 
law passed in 1838 that required all school committees to make a report to 
town meetings in writing. In this particular report, the stand was taken that 
"what is everybody's business is nobody's business." The town had begun to set 
out on a new course, not so of the Prudential Committee's, with its very local 
limited attitudes and insights. 

In 1856 it was decided that the town would fare better with a continuing 
school committee— not all elected at once. 

In 1857, the town decided to pay the school committee members "$1.00 a 
day only." The first printed annual Town Report was produced in this same 
year as well, and a goodly portion of it concerned the doings of the School 
Committees. They wrote that great strides had been made in the last twenty 
years with one interesting sidenote about phonetics being used in connection 
with teaching the alphabet. Reading, Grammar (in which they were beginning to 
analyze sentences). Arithmetic, Geography and Physiology were standard subjects. 

In 1858, the Town Assembly voted not to build a new Central School or 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 41 

Grammar School. They also voted to split school appropriations a new way, 
with two-thirds of the money going for winter costs and one-third for summer 
expenses. Also noted was the average teacher's pay for 1857— $22.50 with the 
town paying board up to $15.00. 

In 1860, the summer term lasted two months, seven days. The winter term 
went for two months, four days. Wages for teaching the summer term were 
$16.00; for the winter term, the town paid $36.00. 

In 1868, Ira Sturtevant was voted to the School Committee for the third 
year in a row, probably the first time a member had lasted for more than one 
year. There had been a plea for this sort of thing to give continuity to the school 
program, as it were. At this time a new fiscal policy was adopted and one-half 
the school funds were voted to pay wages for the winter term, and one-half for 
the summer term. Before the split, $15.00 was subtracted from the total monies 
to take care of the wood needs in winter. 

From 1870 to 1875 there were few changes in the school system. The school 
districts now numbered five and by 1874 we find references to children dropping 
out or being taken out by parents who felt they had learned enough and should 
go to work. Work at this time meant the factories, and not the farms. There 
are also references to a few parents who did want more education for their 
children, but found they didn't have the money. For Halifax students, the 
nearest high schools at this time were in Bridgewater, Kingston and Middleboro. 

In 1876, an act was passed that decreed any town in the commonwealth 
could raise by taxation or other means the appropriate monies to be used by the 
School Committee in providing conveyance of pupils to and from school. The 
distance at which a pupil became eligible for transportation was at least one and 
one-half miles. 

In the next five years, there was a considerable amount of moving the school- 
houses, with five schools eventually consolidated into two. The Town Hall served 
as both a primary and a grammar school. It is noted in the records that the Town 
Hall was to be arranged and set up as a school, with stoves from schoolhouses 
No. 3, No. 4, & No. 5 and seats from school No. 1. 

In 1876 the town appropriated $508.95 to pay five men for supplying 
transportation to and from school. 

In 1878, a law was enacted in Massachusetts requiring drawing to be taught. 
Maps, which were the essential apparatus for teaching geometric forms, were 
recommended. Again, by 1878, we were back to four schoolhouses. The fifth 
schoolhouse had since been purchased by John F. Thompson. The teachers of 
this year were also all women: 

Miss A. Baker of Halifax 
Miss Nellie M. Pope of Halifax 
Miss Lucretia Osbourne of Campello 
Miss Emma Darling of Middleboro 

In 1883 an article appears in the Town Warrant ordering that the school that 
burned be replaced. A new school was built at a cost of $634.52, but because of 
the fire the January session still had to be held at John Sturtevant's house. 

In 1892, an article appeared in the Town Warrant speculating on whether the 



42 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

town would agree to establish a graded school. Eventually, classes were held in 
the Town Hall where Eugene J. Deane was named teacher and designated 
principal as well. His aims and objectives are set forth in the Town Report of 
1892. 

In 1893, the Town Assembly voted to request the School Committee to act 
immediately to consider a school union with a common superintendent. 

In 1904, the Assembly voted for a Central School. The building committee 
included Elliot Harlow, Eben Wood and Jabe Thompson. They were directed to 
report within twenty days on the plans, and at the very next meeting their 
building plans were approved. The vote went Yes, 38— No, 23. 

It was also voted to confer with J. L. Jones and negotiate for a site in 
"Packard's Pasture" where the school would be located. If unable to obtain this 
land, they planned to take land on the west side of the church. In this same 
year the Assembly voted to sell at public auction the four district schools and 
use the money to buy furnishings for the new school. 

In 1905, J. L. Jones was approached to make good his promise of land for the 
Central School. Elliot Harlow of Middleboro, who was to be builder of the 
school, asked the Town Meeting in March of 1906 to accept the lot of land 
opposite Lysander Haywoods' Property (where the school now stands) from 
Mr. and Mrs. J. L.Jones. The Town accepted the offer and erected an iron fence 
around the property chosen as the school site. 

The 1914 Town records show that $2,000.00 was spent for High School 
transportation. Also an excerpt from the program of the 1914 graduation class 
follows: 

Clyde Otis Bosworth Clayton A. Bricknell 

Anne L. Bricknell Herman Dewhurst 

Annette L. Franklin 

In 1921 school transportation became motorized. In the following year 
arrangements were made to provide transportation from Halifax to Bridgewater 
High School for all Halifax pupils desiring to further their schooling. The cost 
was subsidized partly by the Town and partly by the parents; the total cost of 
transportation for five school students in 1922 was $1,586.31. That same year 
there were twenty-four pupils from Halifax attending High Schools. 

In 1926, modern plumbing was installed because the superintendent recom- 
mended flush closets and septic tanks as essential. On his recommendation, the 
school department made a study and installed the facilities. The people of 
Halifax were congratulated by state officials for providing adequate school 
facilities. Few other towns of comparable size had done as much. 

In 1929, the School Committee voted to build an addition to the Central 
School. They commissioned Ebenezer Holmes, C. Devitt, G. H. Armstrong and 
Guy Baker for the work and decided on a sum of $16,000 to be spent, $5,000 of 
which had to be raised that year. Also at this time, the first significant change in 
heating and ventilation was undertaken at the school. For $2,000, a unit system 
of heating was installed. In each room fans drew in fresh air from out of doors. 
This air then passed through a copper radiator which heated the air as it entered 
the classrooms. 

On March 28, 1930, it was voted to rescind the building addition, 112 to 57. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



43 





Standish Manor, the residence of J. L.Jones, was built in 1733. In 1911 
it was converted to a girl's school. Today it is the site of Halifax's new 
elementary school. 



44 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



In 1933, it was voted to ask the School Committee to study school needs 
including the proposed addition of nine rooms. 

In 1938, through the dedicated efforts of our school Custodian, Myron Wood, 
a hot water system was added to the water supply so that a most important 
practice of better personal cleanliness, health and a cleaner building would result. 

At a special Town Meeting in 1947, it was decided after much deliberation to 
forego the building of a new school and, instead, add a two-room addition to the 
present school. It was ready for use in September of the following year. 

In 1951, a Regional School Planning Committee was appointed which sat 
regularly throughout the year. Because of the increased difficulty of providing 
adequate school facilities for the expanding population, a new elementary or 
regional plan was adopted. Later, Halifax entered into a Regional School System 
on a secondary level as well. 

By 1954, the Regional High School movement had crystallized to form a 
"Silver Lake Regional High School." 

By 1960, the new Elementary School was built. In 1965, the addition of six 
rooms was made. 

In the summer of 1975, the construction on the Early Childhood Center was 
completed for the opening of the school in the fall. 




Central School, 1905, on Plymouth Street. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



45 




Central School, 1976, with two rooms added in 1948. 



May 1887 

In Wide Awake 



By Frances A. Humphrey —a granddaughter 
of Stafford S. Sturtevant 



CAP'N BOS'ARD'S WIFE'S SCHOOL 



The true spelling of the name is "Bosworth," and in these days it is pro- 
nounced as spelled. But in the time of which I write— the last part of the 
eighteenth and the first part of the nineteenth centuries— it was pronounced 
"Bos'ard" which may have been, after all, the original pronunciation of an 
original genuine English name. 

Why the school was, and is, always spoken of as "Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's 
School" it is impossible to say. Certainly it was not because that Mrs. Bos'ard 
lacked individuality, or that Cap'n Bos'ard, in his function as head of the house, 
overtopped his wife as a high hill does a low one. So far as I have learned each 
was a person of strong character and marked individuality. Cap'n Bos'ard was 
well on in years at the time of the Revolutionary War, and was the owner of a 
lumber mill, and it is related that certain English soldiers had deserted from that 
portion of the army stationed in Marshfield and had been tracked to Halifax, and 
that the pursuers entered the mill where Cap'n B. was at work and demanded if 
he knew anything of the deserters. 

"Don't know anything about your deserters," was the remark as he went on 



46 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 





New Elementary School on Plymouth Street. This site was originally 
the parsonage occupied by John Cotton, the first minister of Halifax. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 47 

with his work. The soldiers were not accustomed to such cavalier treatment, at 
least only from Yankees, and they angrily drew their pistols and pointed them 
threateningly at the Cap'n as they proclaimed their authority and demanded 
deference. 

"Blaze away, blaze away, if you want to," was the sole response. But they 
did not blaze away. 

Cap'n B. was a carpenter and master builder and it is said, superintended the 
erection of more than one building in Boston. His trade, however, does not 
seem to have been a lucrative one, for they were always poor, which was 
probably why Mrs. Bos'ard continued her school for so many years, teaching even 
when she was a very old woman. Her charges were six pence (eight and one-third 
cents) per week, which could not have filled her coffers to overflowing at any 
time. 

The old home, wherein the school was kept, has long since disappeared. 
Nothing remains except a single foundation-stone, and the old well. But it was 
a new house in the early days of the school, built by Cap'n Bos'ard himself. 

Near it, separated only by a few feet, stood the still older house, built we 
must suppose, in the early part of the eighteenth century when Halifax was still 
part of Plymouth. Both it is likely, had a picturesque old gambrel roof. This 
oldest house served in the days of Cap'n Bos'ard's wife's school as a carpenter's 
shop and barn. And a most enchanting barn it must have been to the children 
with it's many rooms and raftered chambers where the spiders spun unmolested, 
and the swallows flew in and out of the broken windows, while the few sheep 
nestled in the ample fireplaces and the hens roamed to and fro and laid their eggs 
in the long-disused cupboards. 

The hens, however, did not confine themselves to the barn. In the upper story 
of the new house, in a long unfinished garret, the meal chest was kept and thither 
the hens resorted in the summer time, when the door swung hospitably open 
from morning til night. They hung about the stairway, slipping up on the sly 
and helping themselves to meal. It twas part of "industrial education" of the 
pupils to frighten off the hens, one at a time being detailed to sit on the stairs for 
that purpose. You remember that Mr. Squeers taught his pupils after this plan: 
"W-i-n win, der d-e-r, winder, now go and wash the winders." 

One pupil recalls how a certain small speckled hen used to lay an egg daily in a 
niche of this stairway, flying out a triumphant "Cut-cut-cuy-da-cut!" A pleasing 
episode in the otherwise dry busiriess of study. 

Watching the hens, searching for their hidden nests, was only part of the 
"industrial training" of this school. Mrs. Bos'ard also kept geese, and a de- 
tachment was sent out daily to watch these geese as they fed by the roadside, 
to keep them out of the meadows where they would have made havoc of the 
grass. Occasionally one would stray into the forbidden ground. Mrs. B. was then 
notified by the watcher, and she had but to go to her door and call in a loud 
shrill voice, "Goose! goose! goose!" and the delinquent would walk out as 
obediently as the most docile pupil of them all. 

These geese were kept for their feathers, and were plucked yearly. What! 
alive? Yes, alive. Else where did the "live goose feathers" come from which 
went into making the luxurious downy beds of our great-grandmothers? It is 
said that after the first picking it did not hurt much. 



48 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

As Mrs. Bos'ard carried on her household labors during the school hours, so 
did she pick her geese, and anyone, looking at certain times, might have seen her 
seated with a goose in her lap, its head thrust into a stocking-foot, so it could 
not bite, a row of boys and girls before her, with toes on a line with a crack in 
the floor, spelling by turn, and the air around them thick with bits of soft white 
floating down. As geese live to a great age, it is not unreasonable to suppose that 
two or even three generations of children may have "assisted" in the French 
sense at her picking of the same goose. 

Besides the regular daily duties, there were occasional ones, such as unloading 
and cutting up a cartload of pine wood, or catching the hens when the hen man 
made his annual call in the fall. This last is recalled by gray-haired men as an 
especially jolly lark. We can imagine it— the squawking frightened hens, the 
eager breathless boys and girls, and the tall dark woman with a pipe in her mouth, 
overseeing and directing. 

A pipe! Yes. I am obliged to admit that the dame who kept this school 
smoked. Whether the herb she smoked was St. John's wort, which to-day, in the 
month of July, changes the barrel pastures that encircle the spot where her house 
once stood, into a field of the "cloth-of-gold," I cannot say. Doubtless, she was 
as wise in the use of simples as were most of the women of her day. 

As I have touched upon her personal appearance, the description may as 
well be completed here. She was tall, dark and of meagre figure. Her teeth were 
early lost and consequently her mouth fell in, and her mouth and chin, both of 
unusual prominence, nearly met. She wore the petticoat and short gown of the 
day, of homemade red-and-blue, or blue-and-gray linsey-woolsey in winter, and 
tow and linen homespun in the summer. A kerchief was hung about her neck, 
and she wore a cap, of course. All women wore a cap whether their hair was 
scarce or abundant, putting it on as early as thirty years of age, sometimes earlier. 

Jane Austin, the famous author who was living at that time in England, is 
depicted in her portrait in a cap encircling her pleasant girlish face. The cap 
usually came close around the face and was tied under the chin. In summer, the 
women often found it sufficient covering for the head on Sunday and often 
eschewed the bonnet. Mrs. Bos'ard was not over particular; her wearing apparel 
was oftener than not out of place. And one Sunday morning she could not find 
her go-to-meeting cap. All search was in vain. But later on in the week it was 
found in the settle-box in the kitchen. This settle was the receptacle of the 
culinary pots and kettles, one corner being reserved for unlaundered clothes. 

A pupil called Ann has told me of the dress of the children. I went to see her 
when I was about to write this account. A little woman far beyond the three 
score-years and ten, and so short, so slight, and with a bloom on her soft, 
wrinkled cheeks that I could think only of the dear little fairy godmother as I sat 
and talked with her. 

Yes, she said she went to "Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School" when she was only 
three years old. Her father took her in his arms. She was homesick at once 
when he left her and began to cry. "But you mustn't cry," remonstrated Mrs. 
Bos'ard. 

"She isn't going to cry," said Cap'n Bos'ard, "for I am going to take her out 
with me." And he carried her out to his carpenter shop and sat her down among 
the curly shavings, fragrant pine-shavings, with which she played to her heart's 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 49 

content. And there she stayed a greater part of every day, going out after her 
reading lesson, the small mite! The rough old Cap'n must have been at heart as 
sweet as a chestnut-burr. 

He shaved shingles in his shop. The logs were cut the right length, then split 
by hand and shaved down with a drawing knife. And a slow process of shingle- 
making it seems to our age of steam. 

Like the Dame, the girls wore linsey-woolsey, or homemade pressed-flannel 
in winter, their frocks coming down to their feet which were clad in thick 
woolen stockings, the yarn made from the family sheep, spun on the family 
wheel and knit by dear motherly or grandmotherly hands. Their shoes were 
thick and coarse. Some of them had a pair of pretty morocco shoes for Sunday. 

They wore upon their heads homemade blankets pinned comfortably under 
their chins. These blankets were usually striped, though occasionally a child had 
one of white bound with some bright color. Ann's was blue and white, while her 
sister's had a little red in it— red, white and blue like our flag. And a teasing boy 
seeing her coming one day called out: "Here comes the military gal!" and so 
vexed was Lucy— for that was her name— that she could never forgive him, said 
Ann. 

Both boys and girls went barefooted in the summer, and the boys, like the 
girls, were dressed in homespun from head to foot. The boys wore knitted caps 
in the winter, and the girls, in summer, had sunbonnets made of one piece of 
pasteboard and covered with homespun. 

And just here must be told the story, heard often in my girlhood from the lips 
of the beloved physician of Halifax, who together with most of the pupils who 
went to that school, has long since passed over to the majority. 

A sudden summer storm came up one afternoon and when it was time for the 
children to go home, Mrs. Bos'ard thought that little Cyrus— then six years old- 
was insufficiently clad and insisted on his putting on the cast-off garment of one 
of her grown up sons. But Cyrus demurred. He was a nice little fellow in his 
habits and ways, and, like the little Maid of Sker, was "degusted" at the sight of 
dirt. He did not like the looks of the garment, and would much rather have been 
wet through by the drenching rain than to put it on. But there was no 
alternative. Mrs. Bos'ard spoke but to be obeyed. However, as soon as he was 
comfortably out of sight of the house, over the low hill which lies to the north, 
he took off the obnoxious garment, and rolling it into a bundle tucked it under 
a fence intending to take it back the next morning. But alas! he forgot it. 
Inquiry was made and Cyrus was compelled to acknowledge the truth. It was 
never any use to lie to Mrs. Bos'ard. She always found the transgressor out. And 
then she gave him a lecture on the "Sin of Pride," and its consequences. 

I do not learn that she punished much except with her tongue, and with that 
she was merciless. "I think," says an old pupil, "I have never in all my life heard 
anything equal to her invective." She did, on rare occasions, use the stick which 
she kept near at hand— a birch stick some seven feet long. At one time there 
were twins in school, a boy and a girl of five, and one of the boys amused himself 
one day during the absence of Mrs. Bos'ard from the room in tickling their bare 
feet with a twig. Mrs. Bos'ard, catching him at it, repaid him in kind with a 
sound flogging. 

In the case of the little Priscilla Waterman, who later in life became a brilliant 



50 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

leader of society in Boston, she took a far more effectual method of punishment. 
The little Prissey was detected in a lie, one of those lapses from the truth that 
childhood occasionally falls into, especially when terrorized. After a discourse 
on the "sin of lying," and the utterly lost and reprobate condition of the child 
that indulges in it, Mrs. Bos'ard brewed a cup of bitter wormwood and ad- 
ministered it to the little sinner. Surely never did transgression meet with a more 
prompt retribution in the flesh. 

Tradition preserves another instance of her use of this herb as a corrective. 
Charles W.- for two successive days had been permitted to go home before 
school was done on the plea of illness, but when on the third day he again asked 
permission, Mrs. Bos'ard refused to grant it. She herself took the case in hand. 
She gave him a dose of wormwood and put him to bed-a heroic treatment and 
successful, for Charles was never again seized with illness during school hours. 

One of the front rooms was used as the schoolroom-the one with two 
windows in front. The room on the other side of the front door had but one 
window. The schoolroom was guiltless of plaster, the lack being supplied with 
newspapers that were pasted over the walls. The Yankee, a paper published by 
Wright and Ballard, was used most largely. There was a great fireplace with a 
crane, pot-hooks and trammels. Here the cooking was done during the winter, 
the atmosphere of the kitchen, from the beams which hung hams, flitches of 
bacon and sausages, being altogether too cold for comfortable warming. The floor 
was bare and there was a bed in one corner. The children sat on benches, some- 
times on boards across two chairs. The seats had no backs, and the children 
were required to sit perfectly upright. Did one fall into a lounging attitude, he 
immediately received an ungentle reminder from the omnipresent birch stick. 
Joanna Morton, who was remarkably erect in her old age, used to say that she 
was indebted to the training she received at Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School for 
that uprightness of figure. 

In summer the children assisted in outdoor work, and in winter they were 
called upon to lend a hand in the house. The cooking was not of a complicated 
nature, nor was the variety great. Little Ann, previously mentioned, recalls how 
often she was obliged to wash out salt fish tongues, preparatory to boiling. She 
had a vivid recollection of it because the brine was so harsh to her little hands, 
so roughened by the cold weather. The girls pealed potatoes and helped make 
the brownbread. They sewed carpet rags into long strips, which were then 
wound into round balls by the boys. They were taught to sew, to knit and to 
spin. And one is still living, past eighty, who learned to weave in the school. The 
great loom stood in the kitchen. 

The boys fetched in the wood and the water. The fetching of the wood was 
. . .no sinecure. It took cords and cords of oak and birch to feed the fire in the 
huge fireplace. And appropos to the carrying of water follows another anecdote 
of the little Cyrus. The well has a curb and a windlass, not a picturesque 
sweep and pole. Like everything else on the place, this windlass was out 
of repair. It is proverbial that a shoemaker's family are ill-supplied with 
shoes, and a carpenter's are insufficiently housed. And doubtless Cap'n Bos'ard 
was so busy patching up other people's wells he had no time to devote to his 
own. At any rate, one day, as Cyrus was drawing up the bucket filled with 
water, the lifting apparatus gave out and down went the bucket to the bottom of 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 51 

the well. He was in great misery over the accident and his misery was not 
lessened when he came to confess his ill-doing— for such he was made to regard 
it to Mrs. Bos'ard. She told him her son Augustus would be obliged to go down 
the well for the bucket; that in all probability he would be drowned, and in that 
event he (Cyrus) would be hung. Imagine the little fellow going tremblingly 
home under the weight of that fearful prophecy! With the singular reticence of 
childhood concerning its sorrows (personal) he told no one. But he lay awake 
far into the night thinking about it. And the sleep which finally came to him was 
troubled. Imagine if you can, his overwhelming relief and joy when, as he 
entered the yard next morning, he saw Augustus with the bucket beside him, 
both safe and sound! The good Doctor used to often relate this anecdote as an 
illustration of the fear under which children were then trained. 

But the lessons! the lessons! Was there no studying done in this school? 
Indeed there was, for "She seems to have had a wonderful faculty for imparting 
knowledge for them times," says one of her pupils. And that was one reason 
probably, why her school was so popular, and that her pupils came to her from 
far and near. However stupid the boy or girl, or averse from the alphabet, Mrs. 
Bos'ard "would adways get it into them." The studies were limited. There was 
no elaborate curriculum. Reading and writing comprised it all,— and the Assem- 
bly's Catechism. The books in use were The Beauties of the Bible, a small 
leather volume, The Psalter and Spelling Book. They read from the Beauties 
of the Bible, committed hymns from the Psalter, and spelled from the Spelling 
Book. 

The catechism was taught orally, each pupil repeating in turn after Mrs. 
Bos'ard. They were catechized each day if there was time. Saturday was always 
devoted to that work. The children always stood during the time of catechizing, 
even the smallest. It was weary work standing hour after hour, repeating over 
and over the long complicated sentences whose meaning was as far beyond the 
grasp of their young minds as the East is from the West. I remember being told 
that one boy named Abel once fainted and fell to the floor from sheer fatigue. 
Since I remember him as a stout vigorous man, the fact of his fainting always lent 
a gruesome air to the catechizing, in my young mind. Writing was not taught as a 
regular thing. But if any boy desired to write, he could do so. In that case, as 
Mrs. Bos'ard could neither make nor mend pens, they were to be taken over to 
Squire "Siah" who lived in a house nearby which is now standing. 

Mrs. Bos'ard trained her pupils in the correct pronunciation of words. Ground 
was not to be pronounced graound, nor about, abaout; a statement that may 
seem surprising when it is remembered that many writers of New England dialects 
insist that "ou" is invariably pronounced "aou" in rural districts. 

A studious application to the spelling book was required. Whether the child 
watched the geese or the hens, it was done Spelling Book in hand. They were 
often permitted to go down to the grassy glades and piney coverts of the woods 
in the rear of the house to study. They played, somewhat doubtless, when away 
from the eye of the Dame. It would hardly have been in the child's nature not 
to. But the lesson had to be learned. 

The school was sometimes called, ironically, "The Halifax Academy" by the 
neighboring townfolk. And these same impertinent outsiders had the audacity 
to affirm that, in default of a bell, when the hour for school arrived, Cap'n 



52 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

Bos'ard went out and sneezed. I have been told that this sneeze was something 
tremendous— what Dominic Sampson would have pronounced "prodig-i-ous." 

Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School was a "vacation school," but it ran through as 
many months of the year as the public school. The terms, both summer and 
winter, of these schools were brief. Not much money was raised for them. In 
the Public Records of Halifax such entries as this may be found: 

"At a Town Meeting held in 1776, 

"Voted, to raise £l30 for the support of the minister, schools, and 
other town charges for the year ensuing." 

Church and state were one then. First the meetinghouse, then the school- 
house, then their material wants— that was the order handed down by the Pilgrim 
Fathers. The sum, six hundred and fifty dollars, was a small one as we estimate 
values. But it was a goodly sum for the town of Halifax then. And in another 
entry in 1787: "Voted— to raise 140 lawful silver for schools the ensuing year," 
we see about the proportion taken for that purpose. 

These schools were taught at first by one master who went from district to 
district. Taught in schoolhouses or in some friendly kitchen when the school- 
house was wanting. There were other private schools of lesser fame. I am told 
of one woman who taught a private school and boarded round, that is, with the 
parents of her pupils alternately. She paid for her board by spinning for the 
family. 

Mrs. Bos'ard's jurisdiction extended beyond her schoolroom. She taught 
"manners," and boys and girls were required to bow and curtsy not only upon 
entering the schoolroom, but to any adult whom they might chance to meet on 
the highway. Above all must they "make their manners to the minister of the 
parish." 

Everybody in Halifax went to "meeting" then. The bare old meetinghouse 
was filled to its exact capacity every Sunday. Did any boy linger outside when 
he should have decorously been seated in his father's square pew, he received an 
admonitory punch from Mrs. Bos'ard's umbrella, which she always carried with 
her. And did he whisper or smile or otherwise misconduct himself during service 
—and a service from three to four hours long was a fearful test to which to put a 
boy's endurance— her long forefinger was raised and shaken threateningly at him. 

It is said that one supremely naughty youngster once refused to regard the 
raised finger. She rapped her snuff box so hard and so persistently at him that— 
the box being upside down, of which fact she was unaware— she rapped the 
cover off and the snuff emptied itself into the lap of her go-to-meeting gown, to 
the exquisite delight of the young rascal. SNUFF!! Certainly. A large majority 
of people took snuff in those days. Ladies and gentlemen took snuff. I never 
heard that George Washington did or did not. Presumably, he did. And a good 
snuff box, inlaid with diamonds, and with a portrait a-top, was not an infrequent 
gift of royalty to anyone whom it wished to honor. 

In 1800 the first public library was established in Halifax. It was kept at Mrs. 
Bos'ard's, that being regarded as the literary center, we may suppose. I suspect 
she was a well educated woman for her day. She did not know "a many" 
languages as is said of most women called learned in the past. But she took up 
the systematic study of her own language, English, in order to teach it to her 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 53 

boys. And one of her sons returning to Halifax when his hair was white with age, 
a good, and, as the word goes, a successful man, was heard to say, "What ever 
success I may have attained I owe to my mother." 

Many curious and droll traditions linger concerning that old schoolroom, like 
the lavender in old linen. It was frequently used for neighborhood prayer 
meetings, when large pine knots were heaped up in the great fireplace to light 
the room, and save the expense of candles. One "dip" in the iron candlestick on 
the round light stand by the minister's chair, might be permitted for appearances 
sake, but it was not needed. The dancing flames lit up every cranny of the dingy 
room, playing with beautiful effects of light and shade over tapestried walls and 
vaulted ceilings. Cap'n Bos'ard had the bad habit of falling asleep during the 
meeting time, and on one evening in the midst of a fervent exhortation from one 
of the brethren, he was suddenly awakened by the falling of pine knots. The 
forestick had given way and they were precipitated, scintillating, sputtering, 
smoking, out on the broad hearth and even into the room itself. 

"Hurrah, boys!" shouted the Cap'n only half awake, and to the undisguised 
amusement of the young folks in the kitchen. That was where they congregated 
—a separate, and I fear, not always a reverent company. On one occasion, one of 
their number, a young man, reached up and slyly cut bits from the flitches of 
bacon, which he threw upon the fire. Thus fed, its glory surpassed that of the 
pine knots in the schoolroom. 

When I entered upon the preparation of this paper I wrote to a dear old 
friend of my mother for her recollections of Mrs. Bos'ard's school— if she had 
any. The following is part of the letter I received in reply: 

"As respects Mrs. Bos'ard's school I know nothing, as I and your mother were 
too far away from the seat of learning to attend it. 

"Should you wish to know of 'Aunt Ruth's School' I might give some in- 
formation. Her school consisted of six scholars, of whom your mother, her 
brother J.—, Lydie S.— of Plympton, Damans H. — of Halifax and myself are all I 
remember. The teaching consisted of reading, spelling, knitting and needlework, 
with lessons on good behavior. Our lessons were set up, our work examined, and 
then our instructress retired to the next room, leaving an open door between, 
and there followed her other vocation— weaving diaper. And I must add that her 
work was all well done and her school happy. Perfect lessons and perfect work 
were required and I must confess that the work was sometimes taken out and 
done over to the disgust of the scholar. 

"It was an incentive to industry that we were allowed after lessons to stand 
by her loom and see, to our amazement, the four treadles used by two feet and 
the shuttle make such wonderful figures. To my sorrow I was told that she was 
allowed to die a pauper after a life of useful labor." 

This account of dame-school may fit closely with an anecdote which though 
not directly concerned with Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School is an instance of the 
pursuit of knowledge under difficulties and is concerning one of her sons. It was 
told to me by a son of the little Martha Briggs who is the heroine of the tale. The 
little Martha came of a scholarly family. Her father was one of the earlier 
ministers of Halifax where his pastorate was life-long, and five of her brothers 
were ministers also. In accordance therefore with the family tradition she was 
ambitious of learning, and above zdl did she desire to stand at the head of her 



54 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

class in spelling. But good speller that she was, Marcus Bosworth was still 
better, and he kept his place as "number one" while Martha remained "number 
two." He never missed and Martha was in quiet despair when she one day made 
the discovery that his shoes were wearing out. It was far on towards spring and 
Martha knew if the shoes did give out Marcus would not have another pair until 
autumn. And how was he going to come to school through the February snows 
without shoes? She watched him day after day,— her sweet child-sympathy quite 
destroyed by her ambition— and marked the gradual and entire separation of the 
worn out soles from the uppers, and how they were tenderly tied to-gether with 
bits of string in the vain endeavor to make them last a little longer. One day she 
was sure that their time had come. They seemed the merest skeletons of shoes, 
in which Marcus shuffled to the head of the class with the greatest of difficulty. 
Happy Martha! In imagination she saw herself standing as the proud leader of 
her class at the head of the long line of spellers that ranged from one end of the 
schoolhouse to the other. But what was her dismay when the next morning 
Marcus entered the schoolroom with his feet bound in pieces of cloth! To such 
indomitable resolution, her ambition was forced to give way, and she thereafter 
remained content to be "number two." 

It can be further told how one day as Marcus was warming his chilled feet by 
the fire, the bits of cloth ignited and the master conveyed him promptly out of 
doors and dipped him in a snowbank to extinguish the flames: but this it seems 
did not extinguish his love for learning. 

(END) 

This story was written by Frances A. Humphrey. She was a granddaughter of 
Stafford Sturtevant of Halifax. She was also the authoress of The Children 
of Parks Tavern. A copy of the novel is in the Holmes Public Library. It is 
the only book that I have ever seen that uses Halifax for its locale. The story of 
"Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School" is of a private school that existed in Halifax 
during the period of 1750-1800. Mrs. Nellie I. Taft (Sturtevant) sent me the 
copy of the old magazine that had this story printed in it. {Wide Awake) May 
1887 Vol. 24, No. 6. 

July 15, 1961 

Guy S. Baker 

(Town Historian) 



LIBRARIES 

The first known library services in Halifax were offered in 1800 by Mrs. 
Richard Bosworth in connection with the Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School. Library 
services were also offered in connection with the Sunday School programs. 

In 1876, Dr. Rowland Holmes of Lexington, Massachusetts donated the sum 
of $100.00 to establish a free library in the Town of Halifax. Dr. Holmes was 
the oldest brother of a resident of Halifax, John Holmes, who is well remembered 
for his work as a tin peddler. The old Town Hall, which had been the original 
meeting house, housed the library in a room once used as a drill hall. The 
building was destroyed by fire in 1907 and the library contents were a total loss. 
There had been thirty-five books out in circulation when this fire occurred and 
naturally they were recovered as a nucleus with which to begin again. Following 
the loss of the library site, the library services were moved to the Congregational 
Church. In 1908 the Town appropriated one thousand dollars for the new 
library, the committee appointed to carry out this project consisted of Henry M. 
Bosworth, E. Laurence Grover, Fred Simpson, Jabez P. Thompson and Edwin 
H. Vaughan. A school building, gift of the J. L.Jones Family, was moved to the 
present library site and remodeled so that it served both as a library and a Post 
Office. In 1910 the deed for the lot was accepted from Mrs. Elizabeth Jones. 
Once again Halifax had its library. It is to be noted that the Post Office no 
longer shares the library building but is located a short distance west on Plymouth 
Street. This frees the library building to some extent; however, it is becoming 
evident as we go along that the present facility is fast becoming inadequate for 
the Town's needs. 

Since this writing, the new Post Office has been built and dedicated— 1976. 
It has become an admirable addition to the public domain and certainly will 
assure the people of this community adequate postal services for many years. 
The tireless efforts of our Postmaster, John Landry, to bring this attractive and 
highly functional building to a reality will be appreciated by Haligonians for a 
long time. 

The library has had some beneficent receipts, notable in 1946 a two-thousand 
dollar bequest from Mrs. Sarah Eddy Holmes, daughter of Dr. Howland Holmes, 
for the library fund. In 1934 an appropriation was made of three hundred 
dollars to remodel the library to permit the use of a part of the building for a 
schoolroom. In 1961, funds were voted for an addition to the library. 

At its founding, control of the library had been placed in the hands of the 
selectmen, school committee, resident ministers, priests and physicians. At the 
1957 Town Meeting it was voted that a board of five trustees be elected at the 

55 



56 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

annual Town elections of March 1958, and thereafter one to be elected annually 
for a term of five years. The first librarian was Mr. Thomas D. Morton who 
served for six years. His annual salary was twenty dollars. Following Mr. Morton 
as librarian was the Rev. James T. Thomas whose term of service covered forty- 
eight years. The following have served the Town of Halifax as librarians which 
will bring us up to the present time. 

Mrs. Hilda Thomas 1931-1948 

Mrs. Anne Forsstrom 1948-1952 

Mrs. Hazel Atwood 1952-1955 

Mrs. Edith Hoyt 1955-1962 

Mrs. Inez Gassett, present librarian 1962- 

In 1965 Mrs. Gassett gained the status of a full-time librarian. The staff included 
an assistant to the librarian, Mrs. Hilda Thomas, who is a daughter of the first 
librarian, one clerk and one student aide. Trustees' duties are sometimes 
demanding in unusual ways. For example on October 19, 1914, the trustees met 
in the library and voted to notify W. H. Willett to keep his hens off public 
property— especially off the library grounds. 

There have been various regulations for the library's conduct through the 
years. The opportunity to patronize the library was somewhat limited as the 
restricted hours of 6:30 to 9:00 on Saturday night would indicate. In 1888 it 
was voted to request the library to be open between Sept. 1st and May 1st at 
4:00 and during the remainder of the year at '6 and Vt o'clock! This, of course, 
was limited to just Saturday of each week. It was voted in 1909 that the library 
be open three hours each weekday. It is interesting to note that presently the 
Holmes Public Library is open six days a week. 

The library was opened to the public on January 8, 1877 and it had a list of 
250 books with two magazines. One of these was a year's subscription to Harpers 
Monthly and the other a magazine called St. Nicholas. Dr. Holmes also con- 
tributed generously from his own private library. For several years an association 
known as the Library Association aided in the general operation of the library. 
On page 58 in this volume is a set of rules and regulations that certainly should 
prove enlightening and interesting. In 1894 it was voted that twenty-five dollars 
be allotted to the library for magazines if people would donate books of equal 
value. In the same year twenty dollars for works on agriculture and kindred 
subjects and fifteen dollars for general purposes were appropriated. Thus, it 
would seem that sometimes the town took it into its own hands to dictate the 
type of services for the library. In 1878 the town placed in the library for 
general use 296 volumes of records and reports, which included: six volumes of 
Massachusetts records, a complete set of Plymouth County records, two volumes 
of Ichnology of New England by Hitchcock and Hitchcock's Geography Map of 
New England. 

The town historian keeps up a continuing system of binding Town Reports, 
and on the accumulation of five annual reports they are bound in one volume 
which is added to the collection in the library. The binding is done in duplicate 
and one set kept in reserve. In 1942 it was recorded in an article which I have 
had the privilege of reviewing that there were 35,500 books in our library. 
The circulation of the library reported in the trustees' report of 1969 was 30,186. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



57 



To establish that we are keeping in step with the times it may be worthwhile to 
report that a new facility in the library is a sound projector with a liberal film 
service that is available for use by the townspeople. 

In 1882, near the present King's Supermarket, a library was set up in John 
Soule's home. This library was supported by town and state funds and served 
the neighboring school for twenty-five years. A book of the late Nettie Thomas 
circulated in this library. 

In addition to the Holmes Library, the Cobb Library founded at Bryantville 
in 1900 is of interest to Halifax. This library was set up to serve the people of 
Hanson, Pembroke and Halifax. It is open on three occasions during the week 
and is under the direction of three trustees. The gift creating this fine institution 
was made by Rozilla Cobb. 




i^^uim^'^^ .^ 



Holmes Public Library — founded in 1876. 




Holmes Public Library in 1976. 



58 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



(Taken from Holmes Library 1878 Catalogue) 



RULES AND REGULATIONS 

Art. I. The room shall be open from 6V2 o'clock to 9 P.M. every Saturday 
evening. 

Art. II. Any inhabitant of the town of Halifax over twelve years of age shall 
be entitled to the use of the Library. 

Art. III. One book may be taken at a time, and may be retained two weeks, 
unless the time be otherwise limited. The fine for the retention of any volume 
over the time specified shall be two cents for every day it is so retained. 

Art. IV. No person, except the Librarian, shall be allowed to take books 
from the ccises. 

Art. V. All injuries to books, beyond a reasonable wear, and all losses, 
shall be made good to the satisfaction of the Trustees of the Library by the 
person liable. 

Art. VI. No person owing a fine shall receive books from the Library until 
the same is paid. 

Art. VII. Sojourners in the town may have the same privilege of using the 
Library as inhabitants, by first signing an agreement to abide by the regulations 
and to be subject to their fines and other penalties. 

(Extract from the Laws, Chap. 59, Acts of 1867) 

Whoever wilfully and maliciously writes upon, injures, defaces, tears, or 
destroys any book, plate, picture, engraving, or statue belonging to any law, 
town, city, or other public library, shall be punished by a fine of not less than 
five dollars, nor more than one thousand dollars, for every such offence. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



59 



(At a legal Town Meeting held November 7, 1876 the following action occurred) 

Voted: To accept the proposition of Doct. Rowland Holmes of Lexington 
in regard to a Library as follows: 

The Library shall forever be public, permanent and free to all the 
citizens of the Town, and be known as the Holmes Library. 

Its trustees shall be the Selectmen of the town for the time being, 
the school committee of the town for the time being, the settled 
clergymen of the town for the time being, and any practicing phy- 
sicians of the town for the time being, who are Fellows of the Mass. 
Medical Society. 

Said Trustees shall serve without compensation, and have the exclu- 
sive management of the Library, the purchase and repair of books, 
the preparation and enforcement of suitable Bylaws governing their 
use, the appointment of Librarian, etc., etc., and the said Trustees 
shall make a detailed report to the town annually, stating the general 
conditions of the Library, its whole number of volumes, the increase 
during the preceding twelve months, and the sources whence they were 
derived, and suggesting also its most pressing wants and the means of 
supplying them. 

Voted: To appropriate one hundred dollars to add to the donation of Doct. 
Howland Holmes in aid of the Public Library. 

Voted: That the thanks of the citizens of Halifax in Town Meeting assembled 
be given to Doct. Howland Holmes of Lexington for his generous gift 
in founding a Public Library for the benefit of the citizens of said 
Town. 

Voted: That a copy of the above vote and the action of the Town in refer- 
ence to said Library be sent to the said Doct. Howland Holmes by 
the Town Clerk. 



A true record 

Attest. Nathaniel Morton 



^ 



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^^.^\H1H ANN'l'£/?«4^j 



OV THE 



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fbntfto*'^ 1871. 



The Halifax Militia Company was chartered in 1792 by Governor John 
Hancock. It had the longest continuous service of any militia company in 
the history of the State of Massachusetts. 



SOCIAL 

In the past there have been and at the present time there are several organized 
social groups in town, founded to meet the needs of people of all ages as they 
live and work. 

The Militia Company, the oldest of all organized groups and formed when the 
town was founded, served both to protect the townspeople and bring men 
together. People grouped together to fill their agendas with activities that 
involved their everyday living. This is still true, be they church, militia, fraternal 
or just plain social organizations. 

One such instance of a unifying activity was the annual Military Ball from 
which I have a ticket dated Nov. 26, 1871. The ticket states that it is the 
79th Annual Ball of the Halifax Militia Co.; given the year on the ticket we can 
deduce that the Militia Co. was first formed in 1792. Governor John Hancock 
signed the charter establishing this company. 

In each of the two clubs formed by young men in town during later years, 
there was a pool table. Eben Wood, now ninety years old, tells me that he took 
part in the activities of both these clubs. There was a pool table at the Mon- 
ponsett Hotel at one time, and one as long ago as 1915 in the Fire Station. 
Today I play pool in my own home, a pastime which my relatives and neighbors 
enjoy with me. Playing pool nowadays is a common social activity, but not so 
when I was a boy. During those years the game had a backroom atmosphere. 

The Halifax Farmers Club is not merely a social group though farming is no 
longer a major part of the activity in Halifax. The club was formed in 1876 and 
we continue to hold monthly meetings where some twenty-five diehards congre- 
gate. 

The Halifax Sewing Circle has to be another of the important social groups 
organized in this town. However, the history of their activities is best placed 
later in this chapter. 

During the Civil War a club called the Division Club was organized. An 
auxiliary branch of this organization was founded, though not much else is 
known of its activities. 

In 1841, the Washingtonians was organized. Their primary theme was the 
abstention from imbibing in alcoholic beverages. They carried on until 1859. A 
similar group, the "Good Templars," was formed around the same time. When 
my mother was a young lady, she associated with this temperance group and my 
elderly friend, Nettie Thomas, still tells the story of her first meeting with my 
mother at such a temperance meeting. 

61 



62 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

The Halifax Farmers Club, previously mentioned, was formed in March of 
1876. Originally it was open only to men, but later was reorganized in 1883 to 
admit women to membership. Van Buren Grover was the first Farmers Club 
president. He had moved from Rockland where he had been a shoe factory 
worker. I joined this group in Bridgewater at a meeting at Snow's Lodge. The 
occasion of my attendance was an address I was privileged to deliver before the 
club in the early 60's— the 1960's, that is! I suspect that the members decided to 
get me under cover of membership to spare themselves the repeated burden of 
having to listen to me as guest speaker again. The Farmers Club sponsored the 
first "Old Home Day" in Halifax in 1905. Frank D. Lyons was president of the 
club at the time. I have a season's program of the club from the year 1899 to 
1900. At that time Jabez P. Thompson was president and my long-ago dear 
friend, Mrs. George W. Hayward, was secretary. A sampling of some of the 
meeting programs: December 13: "Question Box at Otis Pratt's" (That would be 
the David Briggs place as I know it); "Ladies Night at Mrs. George W. Hayward's," 
January 10: at Sylvanus Bourne's with the program, "Are Labor-Saving Machines 
a Help to the Farmer?"; November 1: at Daniel Blake's, "Traveler's Night"; 
December 6: at W. T. Hayward's, "Do Dress and Style Lend Dignity to the 
Farmer and His Wife?" led by H. M. Porter and Mrs. H. M. Bosworth; February 
7 at G. C. M. Porter's— To sort of balance the earlier Ladies Night, a Gentleman's 
Night was planned. In EIroy Thompson's //wfory of Plymouth, Norfolk, and 
Plympton Counties, was the statement that "The first farmers' organization in 
the country, still in existence, is the Farmers Club of Halifax." 

The Halifax Boy Scouts was established in January 1914 [Bryantville News). 
(While not in chronological order, it did come to my attention in my newspaper 
research that the brothers Sturtevant, Ernest and George, had a gunning stand at 
Stump Pond in 1904 and bagged twenty geese in that year.) 

The "New Ideas Club" was the name adopted by a group that met initially on 
January 13, 1909 at St. Clair Primes' home on River Street. It held forth for 
several years and did worthy services on many occasions. Back as far as March 
of 1880 we discover evidence of the Hzdifax Dramatic Society or Company. 

In 1841, the Washingtonians proposed the abolition of any beverages that 
contained an appreciable amount of alcohol. This club operated in Halifax for 
eighteen years until 1859. About sixty men and women joined its rolls, including 
Charles Paine as a charter member. He was also county commissioner for 
twenty-five years and it was here, on his place, that the cigar manufacturing 
enterprise which he shared with a brother was carried on. Mrs. T. D. Morton 
worked at the shop and her daughter, Mrs. Hilda Thomas, provided this tidbit 
of information. 

In the early 1890's, the Good Templars attempted to curb the use of liquor. 
James Thomas and family were active in this group and my mother became 
associated with it upon moving to Halifax from her native East Bridgewater. 

Other than the currently operating service and social clubs that require some 
attention here, a club called the Division should be of interest. A letter from 
the Civil War battlefront to Morton Thompson in 1863 makes mention of the 
organization and the officers listed. The list follows with letters designating 
titles preceding the names. 1 have no way of determining the meanings of these 
letters, but I knew some of the people mentioned. These officers were elected in 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 63 

1863: W. P., Leonard Tillson; W. A., E. Austin Pratt; F. S., Edmund Churchill; 
T. T. R., B. Bryant; R. G., George F. Lyon; A. B. S., Henry Porter; C, Freddie 
Wood; A. C, Cosh Drew; P. W. L., A. Fuller; Inside Sentinel, Frank Bryant, 
Outside Sentinel, J. P. Thompson, and Lady Officers: Abbie Holmes, Mary 
Washburn, and Abbie Tillson. The Lady Usher was Lucy Richmond. In a letter 
to Mr. Morton Thompson, there was included this remark: "Do you not think 
we have a good lot of officers on both sides?" This both sides reference may 
indicate the men and women were separate in their seating. 

Through the years there has been an abiding interest in athletics on the part of 
Halifax residents. Formal teams were left to communities for the most part 
where the problem of numbers was of less concern. In rural America individual 
sports predominated. Wrestlers, boxers, track and field events, cyclists and horse 
racing comprised the usual spread of recreation except for the traditional hunting 
and fishing sports that all country boys indulge in. In the fall of the year there 
were usually several organized fox hunts in town. The cooler weather was also 
the prime season for hunting skunks and coons. Ice fishing on Monponsett 
Pond was popular as well. Today horseback riding and motorcycling are in 
vogue with the newly installed Edison Electric line from Plymouth to the 
Metropolitan area— a favored course for these motorbike riders. Water sports are 
quite popular in Halifax as is basketball, both indoors and out. Girls softball has 
a busy schedule each summer and some softball is played by the young men of 
the Town. Little League's heavy program seems to outdraw all others in the 
summer months. 

In the last decade of the 19th century and into the first half of this one, base- 
ball had its heyday. Teams traveled from one town to another by horse-drawn 
coach before the days of the automobile. This pleasant means of travel was often 
the only way a young man could socialize with his own kind. I recall one incident 
of some sixty years ago where I remember that there was a jug in the coach which 
seemed to attract the attention of most all the players from time to time. I 
might suggest even that a whiff or swallow from this jug was not unlike the boost 
our own athletes get today from a large gulp of oxygen! 

With the limited mobility and the varied demands of days gone by to do the 
chores, there was little time left to spend in recreation. Eben Wood and William 
Leach, two good friends of mine, are, however, able to recall the names of their 
schoolmates who played ball and who was pitcher, etc. 

Social activity did speed up by 1915 with the introduction of the automobile. 
The Grange did its share in promoting programs for young people's participation 
and athletics were becoming a part of the program in secondary school education. 
In my high school years, games played at Bridgewater High School were baseball, 
basketball and some rather unorganized football. We formed a track team in my 
sophomore year and took part in the Brockton Fair meet sponsored by the 
Amateur Athletic Assn. of America. The first year we entered we won the High 
School Relay Championship giving the program of track and field a great start in 
our school. At about this same time in the South Shore area, again playing one 
another on an informal basis in baseball, soon an organization or league was 
founded for the purpose of making up a schedule. It was called the Mayflower 
League and it was organized in 1920. Being the first president of the league 
was perhaps the greatest thrill of my life, at least up to that time. The picture of 



64 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



r'^^fy'iF^*^^ 




Halifax Town Baseball Team, champions of the Mayflower League in 
1923. Back row, 1 to r: H. Ramsdell, G. Baker, B. Remick, L. Mantyla. 
Middle row: A. Braddock, L. Billings, C. Devitt, J. Baker, E. Hay ward. 
Front row: P. Willette, A. Heinonen. 

the silver trophy displayed on this page is perhaps one of the choice mementos 
of those that remain from the days when Halifax was "Champion." The cup 
will go to the Historical Society. Other early athletic activities were of a more 
slippery nature such as shinnying up greased poles or catching greased pigs, some 
contrast when compared with today's more tame sports. Street hockey, back- 
yard dribble and pop basketball seem quite roughhouse. Of course there were 
the tug-of-war contests. My father sat in the anchor-man spot on the local 
team and, though his modesty was superb, he always showed a glowing counten- 
ance when praised for his team's successes. "Throwing the Rolling Pin" was 
our way of bowing to the early trends in the women's liberation movement. I 
remember Esther Dennet as a frequent winner for she could cast the thing a long 
way, indeed! 

Some Things About Some Things 



There have been many social groups among the Halifax people, and the Sewing 
Society could well be credited with having the greatest impact on the social life 
of this community. This legendary group of women seemed to have heeded the 
call. This group was comprised of the female membership of the church, to 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 65 

serve when a good cause would come to their attention. Since the church was 
in the center of town and the town was very caught up in the activities of the 
church, these womenfolk were involved in seeing that necessary things got done. 
Great credit can rightfully be bestowed on this group of courageous and faithful 
women. Never dismayed and exemplifying the virtue of "gentle persuasion", 
they kept the watch. Very few subsequent "orders" or groups of women could 
be characterized by the understanding and compassion of these true "Help- 
mates." Yes, the Halifax Sewing Circle played an important role in the history 
of this community. They were always contributing and often saved the day! 

It's original name was the "Halifax Benevolent Society." The group organized 
in 1842. Women had equal franchise in the church, but men exercised total 
control of the non-sectarian aspects of the colonial life, namely. Civil Gov- 
ernment. In 1800, women were permitted to vote for School Committee 
members. Full franchise was gained in 1920. And they have done much to 
demonstrate that "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!" And the 
Sewing Circle never flinched when asked to aid. The complete records of this 
organization are located in the vault in the Halifax Town Hall. They include the 
Benevolent Society's constitution: "The ladies of Halifax being desirous of aiding 
in the great cause of missions, convened at the house of Mrs. Crooker, 
Wednesday August 3, 1842, and formed themselves into a mission sewing circle, 
the object of which is to provide clothing for a Mission Station in Lower 
Canada under the direction of Madame Fuller." There were present at this 
meeting six members, "consequently but little business was transacted." The 
record continues and includes, "Public Notice was given at the meeting of the 
Society next Wednesday, and notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, 
several members were present." In 1852 a paid bill is noted from Steele and 
Burt of Boston for 485 feet of pew cushions. There is a reciprocal transaction: 
"in 1853, help on the new Church and a present of $100 was voted to the Sewing 
Circle of Halifaix by the First Religious Society." 

One intriguing entry: "A Mrs. Aroline Soule has seen fit to align herself with 
the Kingston Unitarian Church and her wish to volunteer to teach Sunday School 
was rejected." Mrs. Soule had been a long-time resident of Halifax; evidently 
there were no hard feelings about her rejection since a later entry records the 
dedication of the new Church in 1852 when three poems written by Mrs. Soule 
were read on that occasion. Things must have kept on a fairly even keel for 
awhile since still another entry tells that Mrs. A. Soule was "Dr. to Soc. for the 
making of three pairs of flannel draws at 12 cents-total 36 cents." In May of 
1856 a committee was sent to Kingston to study the church fence. Later, the 
material for our new church fence was acquired and the cost and the name of 
the company was recorded in our town records. In 1865 Halifax was billed 
$163; this can only imply that a fence program was in progress over a nine-year 
period. These records are fascinating to one who is hunting for information that 
sheds light on the customs of living which are in contrast with our practices 
today. I am tempted to devote quantities of time to this rich find. Only a few 
more items, however, and I'll leave this field in which I love to roam. 

The Sewing Circle was occupied with much relief work during the war years, 
1861-1865. The record notes the moving from Halifax of Mrs. Cyrus Thompson. 
Her husband eventually became a renowned artist. The war years and the 



66 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



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Plowing contest during Old Home Day, 1907. Today this site is opposite 
the entrance to Hemlock Lane. 




Ready for a "Joy Ride' 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 67 

accompanying hardships make entries at this time very interesting: "Feb., 16, 
1863, received from Mrs. Brainard seven dollars in payment for the same amount 
loaned to her." One may assume that the society sometimes acted as a loan 
association. In 1873, the society reorganized. The new president was recorded 
as being Mrs. Capt. Wm. Tillson, vice-president, Mrs. Albert Thompson, sec- 
retary, Mrs. Sarah E. Poole, and treasurer, Nettie Thomas, a dear friend of 
mine. She once told me that there was a lull in activities of the "Circle" but 
when Mel Crocker's wife died and did not have a proper outfit to be buried in, 
the neighbors again organized and helped the Crooker family and the Society 
became active again. Had it not been re-established, posterity would never have 
had the following feat recorded: At one of the fairs sponsored by this group a 
popular event or contest took place. The feat was to hold a flat-iron out at 
arms's length. The woman who held it the longest length of time was the winner. 
Lucy Packard is recorded on the pages of history as a winner of this contest. 
Other frolicsome affairs made up the social life of our predecessors. Specifically, 
on April 13, 1873, the society sponsored an event listed in the records as follows: 
"Voted to have a Levee on the Eve of May 8th, also to have a post office, grab 
box and guess cake." Admission price was 50 cents including supper. Mr. 
Watson cooked oysters. On the same date, the result of the "Levee" was added: 
"Party took in $247.29. Immediately $200 was voted to paint the Church." In 
1875, on July 21, "Voted to have a Croquet Party. Held at the Town Hall. Sale 
of supper tickets, totalled $17.50. Ice Cream came to $5.20. Party was very 
successful." (This is the first time I have come upon the mention of ice cream 
in the records.) 

Another item: "Voted to have a Centennial Party." Date was March 1876. 
Proceeds reported were $155.69. I shall not add any more details on the Sewing 
Circle except to say it was inactive after the Civil War for some time. "May 1, 
1888— the Circle meeting held in the Town Hall, 19 present." The report of the 
Secretary: "The Ladies Sewing Circle was organized Feb. 26, 1873 with 15 
members and membership then increased to 50 members— some wish to disband. 
Voted not to. Fines were a problem and they were left to a later decision." 

On this subject: "May 7, 1879: we meet today for our sixth anniversary." 
(How hard for me to abandon this topic.) Sept. 30, 1879: "Sewing Circle and 
Church and Parish put on a party for Mrs. Shaw and family in the Town Hall 
from 6y2-10 pm. The exercises consisted of speaking and reading. A simple 
collation was served at y% past 8. Expenses of eats:" 

One barrel of apples $2.50 

25 pounds of grapes 1.00 

2 pounds of coffee .76 

Express .38 

May 5, 1885— Annual Meeting. The report begins: "The ceaseless roll of time 
has again brought us to the first day of May, the appointed time for our Annual 
Meeting." 

Coexisting with the Sewing Society was a group that organized in 1869. 
I can only report that in my opinion a break was the intent of this act. 
The record books of the Sewing Circle were turned upside down and the new 
group was open to both men and women. In a meeting on March 16, 1869, the 



68 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




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Climbing the greased pole during Old Home Day, 1900, in back of the 
Town Hall. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 69 

circle was organized by adopting the following constitution: "This society shall 
be called Halifax Benevolent Social Circle." "April 14, 1881, voted to give Mrs. 
Ira Sturtevant two dollars in consideration for her having entertained three 
ladies from the Temperance Union." From Book #4 which carries the records 
of this group I find an early entry that interests me. On October 12, 1881, 
"Voted to expend 50^ to repair street lamp." This was our first street light! It 
was located at the corner of Cherry Street and Plymouth Street in front of the 
church. In this same year, the Benevolent Society manifested its intentions to 
live up to the title under which it operated. The club "voted to get some 
mosquito netting for papering the church." In this same year, the Sewing Circle 
went on a picnic to Brant Rock. "Traveled in Bailey's Barge." In 1900, had a 
party on August 8 and "made $44.78 and sold 15 gallons of ice cream." In 
1902, on February 19th voted "to get up a town meeting dinner and to have 
beans and meat and instead of loaves of bread, 4 loaves of brown bread." In 
1904, the constitution was rewritten and the name changed to the Ladies Sewing 
Circle of Halifax. In 1913 the Society paid to shingle the church at a cost of 
$750. If you're wondering how they kept their budget in balance, consider this: 
"1916, fed the town meeting and made enough to get out of debt." One last 
item with this much-loved group of townswomen (the men as participating 
members didn't last long) illustrated life's vicissitudes and limitations: In 1916, 
"A plan was made to go to Mayflower Grove but not many went because many 
had no way of getting there." There were many minor problems to cope with 
in their long history but they usually faced up to them. For example, by 1894 
the society had assumed the position that many if not all problems were their 
problems, i.e., "Voted that Mr. Dean (preacher) be asked to forbid the children 
playing inside the fence surrounding the Church." 

In 1905, a most important social organization was founded in Halifax— the 
Grange. This national organization formed a common bond, especially between 
all the rural peoples in America. Our first meeting was held in Halifax on 
Dec. 7, 1095. The charter members were: Fred Simpson, Thomas D. Morton, 
Jared B. Baker, Ella Baker, Homer Tillson, James Thomas, William Tillson. For 
fifty-six years the meeting nights were on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each 
month. The program of this organization was aimed at the occupational and 
social needs of a rural people. Industry had not yet loosed its muscles on our 
land. Transportation hadn't winged itself across the ledger for most people. 
Then, social groupings started up when people began to settle together. And the 
club movement that swept over America at the meeting of the two centuries was 
the Grange. 

There is little point in listing all the benefits sponsored by this organization in 
a community like Halifax. The Grange formed a bond of fellowship nationwide. 
It split its emphasis between the vocational and social needs of Americans. Its 
ritual was beautiful, wholesome and inspiring. Just as the need is evident today 
for orders like the Lions, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Masons, Rotarians and 
others, to cement the bond of good fellowship, so did the Grange come along at 
an opportune time in our history. Perhaps the Women's Liberation movement 
will bring a similar strong dedication to Americans for the purpose of making a 
better America. I was deeply involved in the work of the Patrons of Husbandry. 
I saw the toning up of the entire community as a result of the Grange Program. 



70 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

I saw many individuals blossom into leaders while carrying out responsibilities of 
this order. Membership included youth and older citizens. Indeed, the Grange 
had everything. The Charter was surrendered in 1968. The Grange promoted a 
program to aid the agricultural needs of our town. This national organization 
met a great need in America. Under the national organization came State and 
Pomona and then the subordinate Granges. This step by step grouping from the 
local to the national level surely lent much status to the organization; with much 
of America made up of rural districts, we found a great mass of citizens with a 
common interest in the Grange and its programs. One more effect of this great 
program that I can see now, after many years of analyzing and weighing, was the 
opportunity it afforded many people to work, and lead and grow as officers in 
this fine organization— the Grange. This discipline of the ritual and the tight or- 
ganization offered training that was comparable, in its way, to formal schooling. 
Such training in many cases lasted for a great length of time, as many chose to 
work through a series of offices. With the guiding influence of the Grange ritual 
and the carrying out of assignments, with the mingling and participation in affairs 
along with a broad segment of the general public and with the reassuring 
confidence that comes from working with others in similar walks of life, it is no 
wonder that the Grange grew into a common denominator, cementing the bonds 
between Americans with high ideals and a practicality that only the working 
classes know. No movement in the history of this nation has had the wholesome 
effect that the National Grange and its State Granges, Pomona Granges and 
Subordinate Granges had on this growing republic. Much of my own feeling for 
this organization comes from a personal association with the members of my 
own subordinate Grange group and, to a lesser degree, with the Pomona or 
district group and then on to the State Grange. It seemed to broaden our 
horizons, if you will, when one of us was chosen from our group to be a 
representative at conventions or on committees in groups larger than our im- 
mediate order. I shall never forget the sense of wonderment I experienced while 
sitting on the auditorium stage in the City of Worcester next to Governor 
Coolidge and Mrs. Coolidge in exercises conducted by the State Grange. As I 
recall, I was the youngest overseer of a Grange ever elected in this State. How- 
ever important this may or may not be to the world at large, it was pretty 
special for me at that time in my limited experience. 

My good friend Eben Wood tells me that the Harlow boys organized a club 
on the corner of Summit and Thompson Streets in the late 1800's. The club- 
house made a meeting place for the Thompsons, the Harlow boys and the 
Vickerys and others. The young men had a pool table in this club among other 
things. The building was later used as a home by Bill Vickery well into the first 
half of this century. There was another clubhouse on the corner of Holmes and 
Plymouth Street. There is no record of its origin nor of anything which may 
have taken place there. The mark locating it on the 1832 map of Halifax com- 
prises the total story of this club. 

The Halifax Improvement Society was founded in 1906 and held its first 
meeting in September of that year. Hazel Peterson was the first president and 
Marion Angus, treasurer. In 1909, this group purchased the new scenery for the 
new Town Hall Stage. In 1900, the club voted $50 for a bridge at the end of 
Ocean Avenue. On April 27, 1911, this group voted $25 toward the establish- 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



71 




Halifax Fair scene, 1906, in back of the Congregational Church. 




Halifax Sewing Circle — about 1915. 



72 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

ment of the Halifax Fire Department. My father, Jared B. Baker, was the first 
Fire Chief. Many years later I became a member of the Fire Department, one of 
the reasons being a pool table that was in the fire station. I like to play pool! 

The New Ideas Club had its first meeting on January 13, 1909. There were 
ups and downs with this group and it is not certain when it disbanded. 

There were many summer cottages owned or controlled by groups of people 
who clubbed together around the shores of the lakes during the early 1900's. 
Some supervision was required on occasion to hold down the exuberant tempo 
of their sociability. One summer, under the direction of Constable Chester 
Waterman, I aided in policing this beat and I still have the implements of my 
trade— the billy, the handcuffs, the badge and the appointment certificate from 
the town fathers (the selectmen). 

Down through the years men grouped together to build Hunting Lodges on 
the shores of Monponsett Lake, on Silver Lake and also on Stump Pond. Many 
gunning stands came and went. Schindler's Stand was popular at the turn of the 
century. But the stand "par excellence" was at Widgeon Point on Silver Lake. 
Owned by a group of affluent Brockton businessmen, the stand later became a 
retreat for a group of priests. In the early 1900's, it was burned to ashes. 

As of today, the following clubs operate in Halifax, outside church affiliated 
groups: American Legion, VFW, Amvets, Kiwanis, Lions, Halifax Country Club 
and the Jaycees and, of course, the auxiliary groups that go with some of these 
organizations. Also, there are organizations, such as the Parent-Teachers Associ- 
ation, exclusively for service to school-age children. Other active community 
groups include the Farmers Club, Historical Society and Halifax Reading Club. 

Long ago there was a story written about Halifax by Mrs. Francis Humphrey. 
Her story tells of experiences and escapades while growing up in Halifax. The 
tale is based on historical fact, as the home of the book's main characters was the 
local tavern. The activities of this public house were often shared with the 
family. The Tavern, or Pope's Tavern as it was popularly known, is now the 
home of Violet Brown and is across from the Congregational Church. From 
billings of public affairs and newspaper reports about tavern activities, we get a 
fine picture of the "goings on" in those times. For example, John Quincy Adams 
was nominated here to serve in the 22nd Congress after he had served as the 5th 
President. Daniel Webster was a frequent visitor to this hostelry. Also, many 
Church Councils congregated here since it was the center of the county. The 
Martin Bosworth Tavern or Ordinary may have been the first "Oasis" to be 
sure. The Dunbar Inn of Revolutionary War times may lay its claim to fame, but 
we have a story of Pope's Tavern that is hard to beat. 

Until the middle of this century, the Hotel Monponsett was the modern-day 
accommodation for travelers and a resort for summer sojourners to the lakes. 
This establishment was founded in 1890, when Maurice Schindler traveled from 
Boston to build a hotel. The first building burned in 1895. The new hotel lasted 
until 1968, when it burned down again. The loss of the proprietor's son in the 
fire proved to be one of the saddest events in recent times. This young man, 
Jeffrey L. Clairmont, was nine years old at the time of his death. 

During this century several lives have been lost in the lakes area by drowning. 
The growing awareness of the possibility of accidents has brought the use of 
lifeguards to the town beach during the bathing season. Swimming lessons and 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 73 

water safety courses are also offered. Lives were lost when a cut was dug under 
Plymouth Street at the foot of Hathaway Hill. An earth slide buried two men in 
1911. Their names were Samuel Maki and Samuel Jussila. I also remember a 
fatal accident that occurred at about this same time. Andrena Edgar was killed 
when she poured kerosene on live coals in a cookstove in her home, and she 
perished when consumed by flames caused by the explosion. 

Since the advent of the automobile there have been numerous auto accidents, 
and several deaths have resulted through the years. Other memorable accidents 
were when Jabe Thompson was gored by a bull and Mrs. Pope broke her arm 
when thrown from her carriage while on a trip to Bridgewater. 

In 1960, John Boutemain was falling and trimming trees on 9th Avenue, 
when a partially severed half of a double tree trunk twisted and swung him 
between the two halves of the tree, crushing him to death. 

One finds little evidence of destructive fires in the early years of Halifax. I 
have described the burning of the factory complex in 1845, set by the disgruntled 
son of the proprietor. This quite likely stands as our worst conflagration. On 
Feb. 15, 1874, William E. Sturtevant left his home in Hanson and came through 
Sodom Woods to Thompson Street where he ambushed Mary Buckley and 
attacked Simeon Sturtevant, his great uncle, and another great uncle Thomas 
Sturtevant. This resulting triple murder has to be the worst crime ever committed 
in Halifax. "Bill Everett," as he was called, was twenty-four years old when he 
murdered these people. 

Once, when visiting a neighboring town, Marshfield, my good friend and 
fellow researcher, James Mc Vicar of Braintree, and I decided to inspect the 
Hatch Hill area. Being of a neighborly spirit, Mr. Hatch added a bit of levity to 
our visit. When he discovered I was from Halifax, he asked, "Are you from 
the Halifax where the woman died twice?" 

By way of explanation he told me this story which he says is the gospel truth. 
It seems that in a house on Thompson Street within sight of my home there lived 
an elderly couple. The wife passed on, causing her husband to go into an appar- 
ent state of shock. His noncommunicative state continued right up to the funeral 
services for his departed spouse. The "last rites" were held in the parlor of their 
home. Because of the short distance from the home to the grave, the bearers 
escorting the casket carried it to the cemetery without benefit of a hearse. With 
the procession in order, the ascension up the stone steps at the cemetery was 
begun. But, alas, the coffin was dropped. In the hush of the astonished gather- 
ing, a voice cried out, "Let me out! Let me out!" The route was hurriedly 
retraced, the casket was opened and the re-instituted wife was ministered to. 
She survived for only a few days, however. During this time the husband had 
continued in his state of numbness. And in a few days she expired and the pro- 
cession went back over the same path to the grave site. The route was the same 
and it was made without incident until the marchers came directly to the stone 
steps. Suddenly the husband came to life and cried, "For God's sake and for 
mine, don't drop her again!" Two stones mark their dual graves. 

Recollections come to mind each Memorial Day when I mark the graves of all 
veterans with a flag. Mrs. Albert Thomas, a WW II widow, and myself have 
performed this service for the past several years. This kind of attention paid to 
our cemeteries often proves rewarding. Recently, I met a descendant of a Civil 



74 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




First Fire Station. Building was originally Schoolhouse No. 1, built in 
1845 and located at the corner of Routes 106 and 58. In 1910 it was 
moved to its present site. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 75 

War soldier who has in his possession a flag carried by his ancestor. The colors 
were of the Halifax Light Infantry. It is quite possible that this most precious 
piece of memorabilia will soon come into the collection of the Halifax Historical 
Society. There are a total of three public cemeteries in Halifax, as well as 
evidence of burials in private sectors. On Thompson Street, next to Mrs. Hilda 
Thomas' house, a site holds the remains of the Major Drew family. On River 
Street opposite the old Perkins farm, known to us as the Irving Minott place, 
stands a collection of gravestones. They are set back from the street and will 
soon be lost from view unless the underbrush is cleared away. There is also a 
grave on Hudson Street, which marks the resting place of a Revolutionary War 
soldier. There was a tomb on Thompson Street across from the cemetery, plus 
one at the Central Cemetery and one at the Thompson Street Cemetery. The 
Thompson Street tomb was owned by the Tillson family in the early days of the 
Town's history. Until recently there was a tomb on Pond Street near Hudson 
Street. Little is now left of this burial vault except a quarried stone marked 
1826. 

In the productive years of Ebenezer Wood, we had a gravestone manufactory 
in Halifax. His shop, on Thompson Street, was opposite the next to last house 
before the Middleboro line. His craftsmanship was respected and his product 
much in demand. His great grandson helped me to identify Ebenezer Wood's 
place of business and pointed out some of his gravestones. Both Mr. Wood's and 
his wife's stones were prepared long before their passing. They can be seen in 
the Thompson Street Cemetery. Along this same line, I have learned that a 
burying place for Indians was located at the corner of Elm and Hudson Streets. 
This spot was discovered when road construction was underway a few years ago 
at this intersection. 

Much of what I have discussed to this point concerns places. However, travel 
and modes of travel particularly fascinate me. Topography determined the very 
first paths in Halifax. To go from one place to another, in the Indian days, 
travelers walked the dry ridges when possible. The Indian Trail crossed the 
Great Cedar Swamp on a ridge running somewhat parallel to the Herring River. 
It continued to Stone Weir and, after crossing at this fording place, it went on to 
the present Plymouth Street. A trail also ran from the Mattakeesett Ponds over 
a course quite similar to our present Route 36. 

In the year 1668, we find mention of a Plymouth Trail. This is some five 
years after the Tomsons built their log cabin in Halifax (or what was destined to 
be Halifax some sixty-one years later). Thompson Street, a narrow oxcart trail, 
branches off this Plymouth Trail and was the way to the fort in Middleboro. 
The Plymouth Trail came into Halifax by crossing the Plympton line near the 
Old Sturtevant place. Then it followed the shores of the lake behind the Old 
Cemetery out to where Routes 106 and 58 now intersect. From this point the 
trail turned northwest and followed the shore of the West Lake toward Orchard 
Point, then turned south to intersect the Old Indian Trail from Stone Weir. 
Picking up the Plymouth Road again at the Blacksmith Shop (the intersection of 
Circuit and Old Plymouth), we follow Circuit to its meeting with East Street and 
on into the Town of Bridgewater. 

Fordings also give accurate indications of the existence of these trails. These 
are identified on old maps. Fording places have been detected on the Taunton 



76 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




^m*^ 



Thompson Cemetery on Thompson Street (IVa acres) was granted to 
the town by Thomas Tomson in 1742. The deed is recorded in the 
Registry of Deeds, Plymouth, Book 36, Page 179. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 77 

River a short distance upstream from Childs Bridge. This is the major stream 
that touches our town. The Winnetuxet River, which runs into the Great, or 
Taunton River, not far below the Childs Bridge, had a fording place at the 
bridges on Thompson Street. In the early days, there was a fording place on 
Raven Brook as well. This would be about where Wood Street now crosses 
Raven Brook. We find frequent mention of Stone Weir as the crossing that 
determined the routes traveled by the early settlers. Until the advent of the 
hard-surfaced roads in the first two decades of this century, one could find a 
turn-out beside the stone bridges covering minor brooks. I often drove my 
"hitch" into the turn-out on Franklin Street and allowed "dobbin" to drink 
from the cold flowing water. When approaching the centers of towns around us 
one would usually come upon a stone trough where the thirst of horses and 
oxen could be satisfied. In Halifax, although we had no watering trough, we 
were well irrigated and had several watering places. Just over Hathaway Hill, on 
Plymouth Street near the Bridgewater line, was a turn-out watering place on the 
small stream that passes under the road. Near the present site of our Fire Station 
was a very good natural and picturesque watering trough. Today we have town 
water supplied to the lakes area, an early development, and we have installed 
many water mains in other parts of the town. Originally we tied into the Hanson 
town lines. The town water well is at the rear of Richmond Park, with the 
reservoir at the rear of the Church and Town Hall. With all due respect to well- 
intentioned people involved in this fine addition to our public utilities, one 
wonders if no alternative to this horrible looking bubble suspended on a quad- 
ruped underpinning could have been fashioned from the minds of men who, 
seemingly, can overcome almost any impediment that looms on the horizon. 

In the early days, an open spring determined where a family would plan a 
permanent home. John Tomson built his log cabin near a spring. Then came 
the open dug well. These were commonplace even into the 1900's. They ranged 
from twenty to forty feet in depth. The well at our home was exactly forty feet 
from well curb to water at the bottom of the walled-up round hole, with sides 
absolutely perpendicular. The wellsweep was the first method used for drawing 
water. Our system came later and was a rope rolling over a pulley. On either 
end of the rope were buckets made of wood. The rope was long enough to lower 
one bucket into the water while raising the second bucket to the top. The 
buckets roughly offset each other in weight so one was actually lifting only the 
water brought up to within reach of the water drawer. Since that era of the old 
"Wooden Bucket," there have been various other methods for procuring water 
for domestic and farm use. I knew of a system of storing rain water collected 
from the watershed from a series of roofs that covered a barn and an attached 
shed. This water ran into a tank at eaves-level and was piped into a faucet for 
sink use and non-drinking purposes. 

The pitcher pump came to be a familiar sight in the yards of most homes. A 
refinement of this rough cast-iron utensil was the copper pump. When I came 
home in 1928, I used a copper pump. There followed the introduction of the 
force pump. This instrument delivered water through valves under pressure and 
threw a steady stream of water as long as the pumping of the valves was 
continued. The pitcher pump, in contrast, dropped only one valve, quickly 



78 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Dunbar Tavern on Plymouth Street was a noted hostelry used as an 
inn throughout the pre-Revolutionary period and, also, through the first 
half of the 1800's. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 79 

submerging it into the momentarily sustained water column in the well pipe; 
then, on depressing the handle, the valve at the bottom of the plunger would 
close and trap a small supply of water. One could continue to push down the 
handle and the plunger would bring up the confined water and spill it through 
an outlet or spout at the top of the pump. On tripping the valve on the pitcher 
pump the column of water standing in the pipe would lose its vacuum and the 
pipe would tend to empty immediately back into the underground source. In 
winter, when the weather threatened to "freeze," the water standing in the pipe 
could burst it. Therefore, we would empty the line back to the level under- 
ground to below where it would not freeze. We would need to prime the pump 
when water was once again needed. Gas engines were used to push pistons up 
and down or forward and back to bring forth water until the much less demand- 
ing electric motor came to supply us automatically with water. 

One could hardly leave this subject without introducing the mystical diviner 
and his divining rod. Tradition compelled my brother James and I to bring in the 
peer of "Diviners" when we decided to drive a well by the summer camp of 
James' property. Mr. Chester Washburn, 85 years young, was chosen as diviner 
and many of our close friends gathered for the exercises. Mr. Washburn, from 
Middleboro, was the father of two of our close friends, Warren and Reginadd, 
of the Washburn Lumber Company. We supplied him with a forked stick and 
fell into a processional line of curious onlookers. Mr. Washburn finally settled 
on a spot near the camp and gave each of us a try at the stick. Needless to say, 
testimony was conflicting and indecisive and I and the others were left puzzled. 
Nonetheless, the privilege of being with the old gentleman was much appreciated. 

Our first Post Office building is located at the rear of the Zeb Thompson 
place on Plymouth Street (now the L. P. Brouillard home). Originally the Post 
Office was included in a cluster of buildings called the Poole Enterprises. These 
buildings were located in front of the Memorial Boulder east of our present 
Town Hall. On my 1832 map of the town, this Post Office shows up again. 
Some evidence of the barred windows and doors are still conspicuous on the old 
structure. Perhaps this choice old relic will one day be restored and re-established 
in its original spot or at some other appropriate place. 

A "tramp" house was once located on almost the exact spot as our Town 
Library. In the 1800's, people wandering from place to place were granted free 
sleeping quarters for one night stops. Our "tramp" house had wall bunks and 
ample but coarse blankets to protect against the cold. A fire was maintained in 
cold weather. In 1905, when the Central School was built, this "tramp" house 
was appraised by town authorities and it was decided to move it to the rear of 
the new schoolhouse to be used as an outhouse. Since this information is 
somewhat historical, it may be well to report another item along this line from 
the superintendent's report of school affairs. At about or just before this period 
of time, it seems that the scholars from the several district schools were brought 
together and introduced to the program of a Centralized School System. The 
Town Hall facilities were appropriated for use until the completion of the new 
Central School on Plymouth Street. Actually the restroom accommodations 
were inadequate and perceptive minds quietly made an adjustment of one of the 
town's essential accoutrements at one of the abandoned district schools and 



80 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




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81 




Gravestone Factory on Thompson Street, opposite Albert Wood place. 
During much of the 1800's it was operated by Ebenezer Wood. 



brought it to supplement the facilities at the Old Town Hall. In retrospect, it is 
as simple as this: You cannot move children to new quarters without moving 
needed accommodations to meet the needs of the whole child. The report 
covering this service to the town was delightful. I quote it here: 

"At this point in behalf of the town, we thank Messrs Richmond, Soule 
and Crooker who gratuitously moved a building (an important adjunct to 
decency) from school house it 1 for use of the schools." 

In the evolution of this institution, now known as "rest room," the "Water 
Closet" was the next step on the way to our current system. So that these terms 
may not be lost to posterity, they are listed here as "Pot," "Chamber Mug," 
"Vessel" and "Thunder Jug!" For one who lived a long time before modern 
plumbing had reached our area and also having experienced the conditions and 
facilities of war, in respect to these things, it seems as if man's greatest progress 
has been in the area of sanitation. With all apologies to Chick Sayles, and 
while continuing to preserve my outhouse and also having an interest in the 
eight-holer on the green in Rochester, I will close this subject for good. 

Oscar Gassett has been head of the Volunteer Fire Department for many 
years. In connection with the group there is a specially trained water rescue 
team. Because of the mutual arrangement with nearby towns, we find that this 
last group of specialists frequently get to take part in water rescue work covering 
a considerable area. While our Police Force is no more a club than the Fire 



82 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

Department, one thinks of both groups in the sense of belonging together and, 
hence, as a kind of club. The Police Department actually came into its status as 
a department during the early 1900's. Charles Donati was the first chief. He 
was followed by Elvin Wood. We have since expanded to six full-time officers 
and four part-time men. Chief Howard Waterman was appointed in 1961 and 
has life tenure. 

While listing groups of men engaged in town work we should mention the 
Highway Department. From the very beginning town men were elected to 
oversee the roads and bridges. Usually men were chosen with the definite idea 
that they would care for the roads in the vicinity of their homes. The induce- 
ment to care for roads was the chance to work off tax obligations. Sometimes 
the highway surveyors were responsible to their fellow townspeople to guarantee 
proper disposal of funds for road work. On occasion, when snow shoveling was 
the only way to get the roads passable, every able-bodied man would turn out 
and dig away the drifts. The shovelers would be paid and the listings would 
show in the Town Report. The names usually just about matched a male voting 
list for the town. Another reason for local care and service was to keep the 
roads passable in spring when mud was man's most trying enemy. Gravel spread 
on roads would be packed hard. Workers were few and the cost of hauling high, 
so only patches were repaired as needed. This activity, too, became a neigh- 
borhood affair. Many reports in the Town Record mention locations and the 
number of loads of gravel spread. Laborers, teamsters, graders, stone masons, 
carpenters and others show up in the Town Records. Clifford Hayward was the 
first highway surveyor I knew. He was followed by Herbert Ramsdell who, 
after several years in this position, was induced by the Town of Middleboro to 
become their Highway Superintendent. He was followed by Gilbert Thompson 
who was followed by Roland H. Minott, who held the position in Halifax for 
several years. His son, Irving Minott, succeeded him and was voted life tenure. 
He retired in 1970. His successor was Frank Dias, who served during 1970. 
Ceasar Martin was elected to this position in 1971 and filled it until his death in 
1975. Presently this office is held by Ralph E. Hayward, Jr. The old Grange Shed 
at the rear of the Town Hall and church was used as headquarters for this 
department. Prior to this there was a road shed at the foot of Meeting House 
Hill, back from the road a distance. Previous to this, the old Hearse House was 
located here. The town had the present highway building erected in 1969. It 
also houses the Water Deaprtment equipment. 

The servicing of the animals and vehicles rested with the blacksmith and 
wheelwright. In the early days of the township the citizens engaged a black- 
smith to come to the community to render his much needed services. He was 
sometimes called affectionately "smitty." In the 1800's many different men 
served as blacksmiths in this town. Survival was the rule and those capable and 
dependable finally established permanent stands. Usually it came to be that one 
shop would serve a town and sometimes the trade from outlying districts. In the 
last days of the blacksmith business in our surrounding towns, horse and oxen 
were brought from miles around, usually on trucks, to be shod. Morris Robbins 
came from Carver with his oxen to my father's shop. Today oxen are gone from 
the scene and horses are shod at home by the farrier who comes with his supply 
of shoes, his forge and anvil to take care of "Dobbins'" personal needs. No 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 83 

longer do the boys and girls coming home from school peer in the open shop 
door to see the sparks that fly like chaff off the floor. The switch from the 
burning horse's hoof to the burning odor of gasoline was no improvement on the 
scale of pleasant fragrances. Young hands turned to cotterpins and shims and 
coils and sparkplugs with little trouble. The old village blacksmith seldom 
turned with enthusiasm to the new and strange vocational pursuits. Machinists 
were converted to auto mechanics and younger men turned to this new field. 
The change at our shop included automobile service and repair which brought in 
Bill Rountry as a mechanic. We had Ernest Sturtevant, another mechanic, who 
was the first professional chauffeur in our Town. He came into father's employ 
to begin the service that the townspeople began to need to keep the "Old 
Jallopy" running. I came home and an addition was built on the east side of the 
old building and all seemed well for "the Farmer's Garage" that would one day 
become J. B. Baker and Sons Auto Service. But I left to teach and neither of my 
two brothers chose this vocation. So the years brought a sort of peaceful 
tapering off of activity at the "Old Stand." 

George Estes was associated with the bus service in Brockton at first and 
came to Halifax to begin operating his garage on Plymouth Street where Phil 
Broderick now operates his business. George Estes was the best trouble-shooter 
auto repairman I ever knew. Elvin Wood was also well qualified in this field, 
though he did not ply his trade here in Halifax. His rather short life was spent 
working in Brockton and later with the U-Drive It Co. of Boston. It was easy to 
pick out the men engaged in auto repair work. Among them were Henry Ham- 
mond, Sr., James Bouldry, Daniel Bosworth, Wallie Cunningham, Phil Broderick, 
David Merrill and now the new owners who run Bob's Garage and the very new 
business run by James Sturtevant. My neighbor, Henry Hammond, Jr. whom I 
face across Plymouth Street has been close to me all his life. He now operates a 
garage on Plymouth Street. On the night of his birth I was sent to fetch the 
nurse to attend his mother. His uncles and aunts were my boyhood playmates 
and I always called his grandfather and grandmother Uncle Amos and Aunt 
Maggie, eilthough there was no legal relation between us. Henry was a life- 
long friend and neighbor for the last half of his life. He and I were honored 
with life membership in the Halifax Post of the American Legion. Mabel, the 
wife of Senior Henry and mother of Junior was the Welfare Agent in our Town 
for many years. A grandson, Frank, often takes me on excursions in the wrecker 
to bring in the remains of the havoc that results from man's haste to get some- 
where too fast. Somehow, when riding in the wrecker with Frank piloting, I feel 
momentarily safe. Other drivers, seeing the physical evidence of a wreck behind 
us, avoid us and exercise due caution to prevent another accident like the one we 
are cleaning up. Daniel Bosworth had a Saab Agancy for a time at the inter- 
section of 58 and 106. He also operated the garage that his father had run at the 
intersection of 106 and Carver Street. David Merrill ran it for awhile and now 
the two "Bobs" operate it. They are Robert E. Castle and Robert H. Gauva. At 
one time the Ellis Auto Body Service was operated here. Now this company has 
moved to Old Plymouth Street near Furnace Street. In connection with auto 
services it is pleasant to report that John Duffy has just built a car wash next to 
the filling station in Kings Plaza. The late Ceasar Martin had a junkyard license 
and parts business just off Circuit Street. This area originally made up the 



84 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



Donnelly Farm. When I was a boy the cellar hole was easily recognized and 
there was a cluster of lilac bushes that convince me that there was once an 
established home there. 

In this fast-developing town each issue of the Enterprise seems to bring an 
announcement of a new place of business. In the spring of 1973 the Cumber- 
land Farms Co. received approval of town authorities to establish a store and 
filling station complex at the northeast corner of the intersection of Routes 106 
and 58. This backs up to the Charles Cook Bicycle Shop of my boyhood days. 
One aspect of the development of these sites that has come into the picture is 
the zoning regulations that control the types of activities that may be pursued in 
various sections of the town. These zones include areas where industry may be 
established and another where business may be conducted. The residential areas 
are spread out and, of course, one may have a dwelling in any one of the other 
listed zones if he so chooses and can get approval of the zoning board. One may 
not have an industrial activity in any zone other than the one designated for it 
and the same goes for business activities. Also one must realize that a con- 
siderable part of the town land is marked for conservation. The town began to 
zone itself in 1965. A few minor changes have been made in subsequent years 
and more are anticipated. In general, however, the adopted zoning laws will 
control our future land uses in Halifax. With a Planning Board to watch and 
guide in the developing uses of the land and a Board of Health to regulate those 
affairs that affect the general health of the public, plus inspectors that control 
the uses of public utilities, we seem to be in "the best place on earth!" 




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Monroe Chair —built by Benjamin Monroe of Halifax (1752-1824). 



INDUSTRY 

The early inhabitants of Halifax worked at raising crops and operating several 
mills in the area. The founding of the Samuel Sturtevant Mill, in effect, marked 
the beginning of industry in Halifax. Founded in 1728, the mill was located at 
what is now the corner of Old Plymouth and Furnace Streets, in a territory 
which at that time came under the jurisdiction of the Plympton Township. 
Deacon Samuel Sturtevant settled on the south side of the East Lake and was 
granted water privileges on Herring Brook running from Monponsett Pond to 
Robbins Pond. The cemetery located near his home opposite the old nursery 
site is the oldest cemetery in Halifax. Deacon Sturtevant and Joseph Sturtevant 
deeded this land for a cemetery on June 27, 1728 to a "lot of people." The 
deed was recorded in the Plymouth Registry of Deeds, Book 25, Page 78. This 
was done some six years before the town of Halifax was incorporated. A quote 
from an early paper adds to the story of this cemetery somewhat: "There is an 
open space on the easterly side where there are no gravestones. No one knows 
why it is there, but in this area there are supposed to be unmarked graves." In 
all references of which I am aware, this cemetery is known as the "East 
Cemetery." 

The Sturtevant Mill complex on the Herring Brook and at the corner of 
Plymouth and Furnace Streets, as mentioned above, housed the traditional 
up-and-down board mill and, later, there were added a grist mill, a shingle mill 
and a soap factory. This important power-generating source, owned by many 
different interests through the years, produced lumber products continuously 
until about 1910. A favorite picture of the "Old Cotton Mill," that was built at 
this same location around 1800, appears on an accompanying page. Stories of 
the pre-Revolutionary foundry products cast here are fascinating. The later 
change to furnace operation came about quite naturally when iron ore deposits 
were discovered in Monponsett— mostly in the West Lake area and around Leach's 
Landing just offshore from the end of 11th Avenue. Also, in later years, shoe 
boxes manufactured here helped Brockton's shoemakers to send her famous 
"Shoe City of the World" products to the far corners of the earth, while giving 
the men of this community a source of income for many years. Today, the 
stream that once powered this thriving industrial complex is merely a sluggish 
trickle carrying away the overflow of Monponsett. The area was sparsely settled 
and few houses were built about here in the early years. The framework of the 
first dwellings was rough-hewn and only the covering material was processed or 
milled timber. Oak was a favorite wood for framing houses; white pine and 

85 



86 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




"Ye Olde Cotton Mill" — built about 1800. Located at the corner of 
Furnace and Old Plymouth Streets and last owned and operated by Henry 
M. and Daniel O. Bosworth. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 87 

cedar were used for weather covering and finish. Boards were sawed to their 
desired thickness with an up-and-down saw. On close examination, one of these 
old boards will show saw marks running at right angles to its long dimension. 
These saw-marks or bites extended only to the depth of the teeth of the saw- 
perhaps a quarter to three-eighths of an inch. This telltale up-and-down scar on a 
board tells of the long, tedious process in the building of the early colonial home 
—actually a once-in-a-lifetime task which kept our ancestors settled in one place. 
At any rate, in those days, they "raised" houses framed with oak and prized for 
toughness and durability. Oak's commercial importance as a source of income 
was vital as well. It was a favorite of both shipbuilders and wheelwrights who 
manufactured most of the wagons and sleds of the early days. Cedar, too, 
earned its share of revenues. 

Outside trade was greatly limited at first as travel was quite restricted. Much 
of our own lumber was sent to England and to the European market. The 
utilization of native products was important since the exchange of goods was 
difficult due to their cost and limited transportation. We did have the gift of the 
forests— likewise, almost all our early tools were wood. In my younger years, 
drags and wagons made of wood were common on the old farms and our few 
highways. My old friend, Mr. William Tillson, who dates well back into the 19th 
century, once allowed me to help in the turning and drilling of a wooden hub for 
use in the wooden wheel on a wooden axle of an old tip-cart. Shafts, whiffle- 
trees, hounds, spreaders and wagon tongues for double hitches were almost 
exclusively made of wood. Buckets, barrels, tubs, even the delicate works of 
clocks, were wooden. Only special tools had metal parts to assure long-lasting, 
fine cutting edges. The Tomsons in their log cabin (which was the first home 
and farm in Halifax) used wooden tools. After some years they did keep hard 
goods. The first shovel with an iron-bound edge was introduced into the region 
by John Tomson. Mr. Soule, who lived some four miles away, borrowed it on 
occasion and one assumes it was "very special." In the dawn of our metal era, 
the adoption of the English custom of using pewter for spoon-making was 
widespread. My own mold for pewter still awaits my first fling at casting my 
own eating utensils. The pioneers learned to utilize still another metal that came 
to their attention, namely iron. Ore was discovered in the lake bottom and in 
"Iron Ore Gulch," off what is now Elm Street. Iron ore was also found up 
"Iron Ore Brook," which emptied into Snake River or Herring Brook and entered 
near Stone Weir in what I now refer to as Stump Pond. In the story of iron, 
particularly the part which touches the little point of the compass that revolves 
around Halifax, mention must be made that there was a place in Halifax where 
surveyors could not properly do their measuring because of the disturbing 
influence of ore deposits. 

Stirrings of the developing outside world found their way into Halifax and 
one suspects that ingenuity and resourcefulness were traits as common among 
our people as they were among the citizens of Saugus, Bridgewater, Pembroke or 
Carver, and so we took part in the iron age. Saugus had the first foundry and 
Carver got her ore out and made a hot enough forging fire to cast the very first 
iron teakettle made in America. Likewise, Halifax got equally aroused and fired 
up her furnaces— three at a time— to make at least one iron spider. I have one in 
my collection which, it is claimed, was molded and cast right here on Furnace 



88 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 






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Sturtevant Cemetery on Plymouth Street, the town's oldest cemetery, 
dates from 1728 and comprises IH acres. The donors were Samuel Sturte- 
vant and Josiah Sturtevant. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 89 

Street. Lore has it that there was also iron ore for making cannon balls for the 
Revolutionary Army. If I could reconcile the two eras of the iron business and 
the cotton factory so they would coincide, it would afford me the opportunity 
to suggest that we had the market cornered— the cannon to shoot and make the 
big noise and the cotton nearby to stuff in our ears and block out the disturbing 
sounds. In any case, the foundries owed their operation to hot-air blast furnaces 
which permitted the treated iron ore to flow into molds to be cooled and 
finished into articles for marketing. Only charcoal, a product from processed 
wood, could be fired to a heat intense enough to melt the iron for pouring— and 
we had plenty of wood. In fact, for many generations after the closing of the 
foundry in Halifax, charcoal was still produced here for foundries elsewhere- 
even as far away as Taunton. At the Bicentennial in 1934, a pit was dug and 
burned on the grounds during the celebration, tended by Orville Cole and Austin 
Bourne. The town's historical collection has pictures of charcoal pits ready for 
firing. There is also an account of a catastrophe that saw the shanty house of a 
pit attendant burned while he was absent on a short trip for supplies. There is no 
conceivable way for a person to get dustier, dirtier and blacker than to be 
detailed to tend a burning charcoal pit. The pit arrangement was to frame an 
opening through the center of many cords of wood, built in a very blunt, 
truncated cone by standing the four foot lengths of wood on end and slightly 
tipped toward the center. The desired amount of purified "Coal"— really charred 
wood— needed, determined how many heights or layers of stacked wood one put 
on the pile. Thousands of baskets of charcoal left Halifax, passing by unnoticed 
usually in the wee hours of the morning on the way to market. The highways in 
those days were not the hard, noisy roadways of today, but rather the deep, 
rutted, sandy roads that prevailed up to about 1915. 

The furnace in Halifax probably heated the iron that made the tub bricked 
into the chimney complex of our house on Plymouth Street. Surely, the tub 
that I now "show off" by suspending it on my own lawn in the summer came 
through the crucibles on Furnace Street. I still threaten to eat a meal prepared 
in the iron skillet which I proudly display whenever the opportunity arises. A 
theory that may deserve more attention is that the hardware on the "First Post 
Office Building," now being considered by the Historical Society for restoration, 
could well have come from metal poured in our very own foundry. The building 
dates definitely back to before the Centennial of the town and decidedly before 
the burning and termination of the three furnaces that comprised our industrial 
complex on Furnace Street. Even after the furnaces were destroyed, the water 
power harnessed for use by the foundry was still used to run the box man- 
ufacturing business that carried on until cranberry interests bought out the rights 
and began the draining of the swamps adjacent to the river system. It is this 
selfsame business that is now recognized as the largest industry of the county, 
and perhaps places Halifax in the center of the cranberry world. The A. C. 
Burrage Bogs and the above-mentioned Cape Cod Bogs make up the combine 
now known as the Ocean Spray Company with headquarters in Hanson and the 
main processing plant in Middleboro. The Wine Brook Bog, another cranberry 
enterprise, is wholly within Halifax boundaries and incidentally, is in the runoff 
system that both the Burrage Bog and Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs are tied into. 
This drainage from Monponsett Pond runs down the outlet through Stump Pond 



90 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

and into Robbins Pond. Through the years this waterway has been called Snake 
River, Herring Brook and Stump Pond. Stone Weir, a mile or so downstream 
from Monponsett on this river, was known as "Governor's Crossing" at one time. 
The chief executive of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed over this fording 
place en route to Plymouth, thus the name. Also, running into the stream near 
the Stone Weir is Iron Ore Brook. Nowadays the water is dammed at Stone 
Weir to raise the level of Monponsett and permit a reverse runoff to Silver Lake. 
A half-mile upstream from Elm Street one comes to the narrows. At the lower 
end is Bullfrog Creek and immediately upstream is the "dam." It was here that 
generations of neighborhood boys had their swimming hole. 

It would indeed be negligent to let the water flow on forever through this 
paradise of serenity and leave out the chain of events that wove accompaniment, 
namely the antics of the young harum-scarums of our Town— near drownings and 
great raft exploits were by far the greatest thrill. This also included the fishing 
pole and line, dangling its bait to challenge the biggest hornpout, the longest eel, 
the sweetest pickerel that a boy could ever imagine. Nothing else ever counted; 
mosquitoes didn't bother and lines never got so entangled that they couldn't be 
straightened out with a couple of quick swishes. Boats leaked— it was easy to 
empty them though; just tip-er over and start another cruise. Canoes slid 
effortlessly from our blinds to retrieve ducks or geese that fell to the dead-eye 
aim of the gunner in the gunning stand. I recall that we cooked the bird with 
feathers intact. We couldn't stop to pick the thing and I don't remember how 
the "pickings" were once we did get it plucked and, of course, as I said, we 
cooked it. 

At the very site of the old swimming hole, A. C. Burrage Co. made a cut into 
the river and began digging a canal that was to bypass much of Stump Pond and 
enter into Monponsett. The idea was to control and drain the pond bottom, 
making this area the biggest cranberry bog in the world. Unfortunately, the 
project was halted about halfway to its goal, which was the outlet of Monponsett, 
a half mile away. It was also near these "narrows" that I personally experienced 
an immersion which I cannot forget. At the risk of overworking the term 
narrow, the experience went as follows: One winter, skating full-tilt across the 
pond, I got my directions wrong and skated right into only skimmed-over water. 
Needless to say, I was submerged and came up under good thick ice. Good, that 
is, if one wished to use its upper side for skating; but far from good for 
exploration with heavy gear on, poor visibility and no air. My direction-finder 
worked, however, and I reversed my course precisely and emerged again exactly 
at the point of entrance. In ensuing years, I have never condemned those who 
play games of chance, for I know that sometimes one is sure to win and I know 
I had a winning ticket that time. 

The cranberry bogs have drained much of the land in this part of the town 
and, accordingly, the heads of water that were so prominent at one time are now 
gone. After the water-powered mills came the steam mills which were followed 
by the gasoline-powered mills. The lumber business virtually ended in this town 
just before electricity-powered mills became popular. Much of the industrial 
activities in this town in the early years owed their survival to the Stump Pond 
waterhead. However, a back-up of a fairly good-sized head of water furnished 
the power for the Tomson Mill just off Thompson Street. The mill was also 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 91 

near the original Tomson Cabin— only a few rods down the watershed and near 
the course to the Winnetuxet River that, in turn, empties into the Taunton 
River. My old friend A. Angus told of watching grain being ground at this mill 
and of the operation of the shingle-splitting machine. Some dim markings can 
still be seen on the site but they, in turn, have mostly faded away. One recalls 
the profuse carpeting of lily leaves that lay in tranquil fashion on this old pond's 
surface. They appeared like so many buttons or bows or knots like those tied to 
a quilt. The current that flowed under the road at Palmer Mill was dammed. It 
was here that I saw my first up-and-down saw. Many of the adults of my 
acquaintance and a few younger men that I knew worked here. Since my father 
was the local blacksmith and wheelwright, my relationship to the mill was often 
one of a serious nature. A part of the wheelwright trade meant "setting" tires. 
Likewise, as in this automotive age, the emphasis was on the frequently-recurring 
problem, namely keeping the chariot properly shod. Dry weather had the 
tendency to shrink the wooden wheel. Usually the condition would correct 
itself if you ran the wheels through water when watering your horse at brook 
turnouts or left the wagon out in the rain. However, at times, permanent repairs 
were needed and this involved setting the tires, which required removing the tire 
from its rim, shortening its overall circumference and replacing it on the wheel. 
It wasn't as simple a procedure as it sounds. One could not put the reduced tire 
back on the rim of the wheel without due preparation. First, a bonfire would be 
built; then the tire would be placed on the burning pile and heated to almost a 
red heat when the circumference of the tire would expand or lengthen and thus 
allow the heated tire to be dropped on the rim of the wheel. The major source 
of burning material for this procedure was "chats" from the millyard. The 
blacksmith's "boy" was generally sent to fetch the "chats" for this operation. I 
gained the status of teamster, the opportunity to make believe I was doing a 
man's work, the chance to be abroad with my rig and any incidentals that might 
accrue, such as the envious glances of the more junior members of my ac- 
quaintances. I got to be an old hand at this chore, not that any great ingenuity 
was required to get to a millyard and steer a safe course through great stacks of 
lumber. Thus, I often got to travel to Palmer Mill for a "load of chats." 

I remember a wooden tub that stood at the corner of father's shop, directly 
under the end of a gutter that was supposed to feed a stream of water into the 
barrel during rain storms. The theory worked on occasion, I suspect, though 
during my apprenticeship there never seemed to be an ample supply of water for 
the cooling of the hot tire on the wheel. The auxiliary source of the precious 
water was a family well located at our residence some 100 yards away. One had 
to haul up the water, pour it into pails for transporting, and haul the twin 
cargoes to the shop for dumping into the cavernous barrel. It was also my 
responsibility to douse the fire once the tire was set upon the wheel. Once, 
when the barrel was full and father busy at the nearby forge with Peter, his helper 
at the nearby anvil engrossed in some task, a banging on the side wall of the shop 
in the vicinity of the barrel was heard. Father's curiosity plus his awareness that 
brother James was somewhere about prompted him to yell out "Stop the 
pounding!" The rumpus stopped. But Father stepped to the open door for a 
look and there, upside down with two short legs just showing above the rim of 
the barrel and with head and upper torso submerged, hung precariously, young 



92 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

James. He was pulled out, held upside down, shaken vigorously and in Peter's 
arms was run up and down the street, after which he wound up empty. Dr. 
Charles was called in and everything turned out happily. 

Streams were dammed up and mills built to run off the power generated by 
the falling water hitting paddles on waterwheels. On River Street, between Pratt 
and Thompson Streets, one crosses a stream. On its north side and downstream 
a short way, the ruins of the Porter Mill can be seen. Featured on the next page 
is a photograph of these ruins taken some years ago. A list of the assets and 
remaining equipment after its closing (also in my collection) gives a good idea of 
the kinds of machinery needed in a mill of its type and period. 

Continuing east along River Street, we arrive at the former site of the Kay 
Angus Mill. It is located directly opposite the lot where the original Drew house 
stood. This house, of garrison structure, had a stockade nearby into which the 
townspeople could retreat in times of danger. The home was built facing south; 
since it was on the south side of the road, its back door opened onto the street. 
The Drew complex included a mill and a store which was the center of activity 
in that neighborhood. Mr. Drew bid several times and was awarded the contract 
to care for town paupers. Bonding was required and it was stipulated that, at the 
end of his year's contract, he would turn over his charges to his successor with 
clothing comparable to what had come with them. Food and lodging was 
guaranteed by the successful bidder and the town furnished medical care. Mr. 
Drew was also editor of a weekly paper that circulated through the town. It was 
released in long-hand with a checkoff sheet in order to get it to all subscribers. 
I own several copies, even more precious now, I dare say, than they were in those 
days when they were circulated. Mr. Drew took issue with the practices of the 
Church on occasion and absented himself from attending services for quite a 
while. Bargaining committees were not in vogue then, but many meetings with 
Mr. Drew are reported in Church records and it is pleasant to note that in later 
years he seemed to be included in all kinds of activities, both spiritual and 
non-sectarian, in this town and state. Drew was also a pioneer on the issue of 
"busing" pupils to desirable school districts. The children in the outlying areas 
lacked some of the privileges enjoyed by those nearer the center of town. There 
were five school districts, autonomous in every respect. A Prudential Committee 
was elected for every district which hired the teacher and assessed taxes for 
operating the school. Mr. Drew tried for a long time to have his children 
included in a district outside the one in which they lived but, to my knowledge, 
never succeeded. Shortly after his attempts at reforming the schools, central 
schools became popular, and our five schools became three and then one. Mr. 
Ira Sturtevant of this town was also a pioneer in the movement to consolidate 
public schools in the state. 

In the last years of the 19th century, the Drew Mill came into the possession 
of Kay Angus. I went there often as a boy for "chats," and remember seeing for 
the last time in Halifax the operation known as making "cedar shingles." The 
Angus Mill had another accommodating feature. Periodically throughout this 
town, one could usually hear the whistle at Kay Angus' Mill. It was blown at 
seven in the morning, at noon and at five at night. One startling effect that 
should be reported is the scare that shot through a fellow's system if he happened 
to find himself sitting in the boiler room just as Bill HoUis, the fireman, pulled 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



93 










> 


%' 




1 


\ . ■' - 


, ;.^ • 


\ 


• v; 




w~. 




' 






^'' 




^^L^- 




Site of the Porter Mill on River Street west of the Firing Range. 



94 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

the cord on the whistle. It never failed to take me out of my seat! Mr. Angus 
could tell the tallest tales about moose in his home country of Canada. He also 
played his violin at many house parties in the area. The discrepancy in our ages 
had two effects which I appreciated. The moose stories seemed all too real, and 
Mr. Angus' family consisted of two lovely daughters, a son and, of course, the 
pleasant and friendly Mrs. Angus. In back of the Angus Mill was a pond that 
appears on an old 1832 map. It covered almost thirty acres. Also in this vicinity 
stands the former home of my sister-in-law, Mrs. Olive (Minot) Baker. 

In later years, a gasoline-powered mill was located very close to the edge of 
the swamp off South Street. Homer Tillson built this portable mill and acted as 
sawyer during its brief existence. While in the south part of the town and on 
Wood Street it comes to mind that on Raven Brook, which passes through the 
Great Cedar Swamp from Middleboro, there was a grist mill and later a lumber 
mill near the location where Raven crosses under Wood Street. Somewhat east 
of this point, some millstones were discovered some years ago. This raises the 
question about the exact location of the early mill in this section of the town. 
The early maps show a fording place where Wood Street crosses over Raven 
Brook, but I can't find evidence of stones or other telltale signs of a mill at this 
location. "The Deacon's Folly" is a story of a mill project in this area— but one 
that failed. It appears in a subsequent chapter. Also, the aforementioned Palmer 
Mill was situated on Monponsett Brook, which ran through Turkey Swamp and 
finally into the system of the Winnetuxet River. All of this drainage was on the 
south side of town. The other runoff of significance was the Stump Pond to 
Robbins Pond system, on which only one mill was located, on Furnace Street. 
The William Tillson Steam Mill on Elm Street never involved water power. The 
structure was impressive, however, and the high brick chimney stood for many 
years as an imposing landmark. In its final years of operation, its sawyer and 
general boss was William Wood. He and his wife lived in the last house on Pond 
Street next to the East Bridgewater line. Mrs. Wood was my mother's dress- 
maker and, as a boy, I can recall visiting Mrs. Wood with my mother when 
Mother would need "fittings." It was always an enjoyable trip since I got to play 
with the Wood's sons, Alton and Percy, and they had an extraordinarily large 
barn to romp in. 

As my father was the village blacksmith and had little time for farming, I 
took it upon myself to work for various farmers doing lighter chores. I had 
flings working for half a dozen farms, in addition to working for the town- 
mowing bushes, spraying orchards, painting road signs and, of course, firefighting. 
This last activity I liked so well that, while I wouldn't wish harm to property- 
owners in the area, it would have broken up the uneventfulness of my life had 
there been a few more conflagrations. Father was the first chief of our fire 
department when it was organized on August 24, 1909. This institution con- 
sisted of twenty Badger fire extinguishers plus, of course, the volunteer firemen. 
They were partially filled (the extinguishers, that is) with soda water and inside 
was a rack that suspended a bottle of sulphuric acid near the top of the ex- 
tinguisher. When inverted the acid would flow into the water-soda mixture 
and chemically react to create a high pressure that drove the fire deterrent 
out the short hose to a nozzle at the outer end of the flexible hose for 
steering the stream. Recharging the extinguishers often became my job. The 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



95 




Palmer Mill on Palmer Mill Road, a lumber mill run by a head of water 
backed up in Turkey Swamp. 



96 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

soda was measured out in small bags and a liberal supply of acid was always on 
hand. Once we had been warned of a fire, whether by the church bell or in later 
years by telephone or visible flames and smoke, we would load the extinguishers 
into the democrat wagon, harness up the horse and gallop full speed to the 
scene of the fire. If the distance was great, the horse was given some considera- 
tion. As a young boy, before the organization of our fire department, I 
remember seeing the millyard horse, "Old Tom," come running from the mill 
hitched to the yard wagon. Somewhere under the foot of the driver was a gong 
that made a fearful din. Only an artist aided by a sound effects expert could 
portray this outfit, pounding in the dust, driver standing and flailing his arms and 
sounding the gong. Refinement came with the first fire truck. It was a con- 
verted passenger car with the body entirely removed except for the front seat 
and a platform added at the rear. The old gongs have gone but sirens do stir to a 
certain degree everyone's "Timbers" as of yore. Mills in the days of water 
power were mostly free of fire. With the advent of steam and roaring boilers, 
however, the story soon changed. Halifax had had its share of fires. Perhaps the 
worst conflagration to take place in Halifax, changing the economic course of 
the town's history, came about when the boiler exploded at the Old Colony 
Railroad Hothouse and Nursery complex on Plymouth Street opposite the 
cemetery on East Lake. It was an important enterprise and a big loss to the 
town. The date of this loss was December 20, 1890. 

When one studies the changes that come about in lifestyles and the kinds of 
work that keep people going, it becomes evident that the needs of others come 
to be a part of how people live and work. At first, we, in a country type of 
community, carried our products into the more populous centers. Lumber was a 
popular commodity as was iron ore. Tons of hay were also shipped from this 
town to meet the horse and cattle needs of towns with less or no means of 
growing feed. Vegetables were also a fine marketable item. As the nearby 
communities continued to grow and demand began to exceed the production 
capacities of their own fields, food products began to come from places like ours 
where land space enables us to grow huge crops. For a long time we were able to 
raise our own dairy products. Through 1960, and even now, there are dairy 
farms still producing milk. Nonetheless, the Gummows, Thompsons, Sturtevants, 
Burroughs, Simpsons, Bosworths and Haywards, with their herds of dairy cows 
that I knew as a boy, have all faded into memory along with windmills, corn- 
fields, corn sheds, silos and milk cans. 

The poultry business also faded away gradually, as had the dairy herds. 
Several chicken farmers, men from this town, were prominent in the breeding 
and growing of choice poultry stock. Incubators holding thousands of eggs 
replaced the old custom of setting a brooding hen with about a dozen eggs in 
any out-of-the-way place where she had to fend for herself. With the old 
method, a boy could "discover" a setting hen and, in due time (about twenty-one 
days) a flock of chicks would be hatched. Thereupon he had himself a com- 
modity to sell to any interested party— which usually turned out to be his 
mother. The layers gave forth a continuing supply of eggs to be sold each week 
to the eggman. The cockrels went to the hen cart that came by to buy up 
surplus fowl. Eggs were a regular barter deal with the grocery man who arrived 
each week to "get his order" and on a repeat trip to make delivery. From the 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 97 

Simpsons, Devitts, Blackmans, Bunkers, Tewksburys, Hardings, Lunns and 
Gassetts, to the Sturtevants' "Sturdy Chickens" and those with smaller flocks 
such as the Rigos, Watsons and Edwards, came a great input of energy resulting 
in an impressive income from a flourishing chicken business. Inevitably, the 
economic pendulum swung so that it became unprofitable for the farmers in our 
area to stay in the hen business and only the Sturtevants' farm is in operation 
today. At any rate, the days of agricultural pursuits seem virtually ended for 
this region. Profits have dwindled, black turned to red in the business ledger and, 
except for service-type businesses and food suppliers, only the cranberry interests 
are of any significance. 

What is now Gentile's Supermarket was opened around 1915. King's is the 
major retail outlet in our town. Our central marketing place dates from the 
days of the General Store on the top of the hill opposite the Town Hall, where 
the Packards followed the Pooles, who were located on the Town Hall side and to 
the south a bit. Then came Frank Lyon who operated the Old Packard Store 
until G. A. Estes took over and moved it to the foot of the hill and built his new 
store that is now an apartment building next to the library. Albion Estes, son of 
G. A., ran the new store until 1920. Anson Anderson ran it next until Harry 
Minor bought him out. Then, in turn, came Rufus Case and, the last to use this 
place of business was Alex King. Later King moved his business east to the new 
supermarket on Plymouth Street. The fire station and police headquarters 
followed this migration to our business center. In the complex called "King's 
Plaza" is located a dry-cleaning business, a laundromat, a drugstore, a barber 
shop, a hairdressing salon and some office space. On one side of the plaza stands 
our first bank, the branch office of the Rockland Trust Company. Balancing off 
the complex we find at the extreme east corner Jack Duffy's car wash. At one 
time, the center of the town's business was on the corner of Elm and Furnace 
Streets, in the home of Thomas Croade. Here, the early town meetings were 
held and, also, the Inglees later ran the General Store, supplying the entire town. 
Nat Perkins ran this place for a short time in my youth, and he was followed by 
Frank Lyon who was last to operate there. 

The town schoolhouse, built about 1792, was situated on the west side of 
Elm Street and just beyond the above-mentioned Inglees Store. Owing to a 
change in climatic conditions or to someone's poor planning, the schoolhouse 
had to be moved across the street and a bit to the south because it was too cold. 
Still too windy and cold, it was moved south again, along Elm Street around the 
corner. This time, the shelter of the prominent sand bank protected it from the 
elements. The "Moving Schoolhouse" did cut down on the distance I had to 
travel to get home from school. "Moving Schools" were not unusual in those 
days. The teacher with her pupils would move classes to a different home each 
term if there were no permanent structure. The Historical Society is contem- 
plating moving this, our most movable school, once again so that we can display 
it and proclaim it as the "Movingest Schoolhouse That Ever Was!" 

A company store on Furnace Street, a part of the great factory complex for a 
short time, was destroyed in a great fire on July 5, 1848. Many years later, there 
was also a store in the J. B. Baker Farmers' Garage. 

Leaving King's Plaza and proceeding east along Plymouth Street, one reaches 
the site of Halifax's one and only animal farm. It was operated from about 



98 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



m^riT/^i. 






King's Supermarket and Shopping Center, established 1956, is located 
on Plymouth Street, east of the present Fire Station. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 99 

1950-1960 by Mr. Charles Chase. The entrance passed between Soule's Rest and 
the Richmond Place. A half-mile back a sizable layout of housing facilities, cages 
and service buildings were located. Mr. Chase was an established authority in 
this field and his activities captured interest hereabouts for some time. Opposite 
on Plymouth Street, the Farm House Gift Shop prospered for a short time. Its 
owners, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Harrison, eventually converted the building into 
apartments. This same building served as the parsonage for the Congregational 
Church in my youth. Sometimes, "Husking Bees" were held here. The gainful 
aspect of such an affair was to gather recently harvested corn, separate it from 
the bulky stalks, and ready it for shelling. At a husking bee it was best to have 
an escort first, preferably a partner of the opposite sex. The party was much 
more enjoyable if the lights were low. The main concern of young buskers was to 
keep a sharp eye out for colored ears of corn, any color except the natural 
yellow hue. The person who made this lucky discovery was told to "Kiss her!" 
When colored corn seemed to be in short supply, someone would usually come 
through with a stock of the valued ears, adding some spice to the night's fun. I 
could always manage to stash one ear of colored corn on my person and bring it 
forth at proper intervals. It was at a husking bee that I first met the girl who 
later became Mrs. Guy Baker. 

Across the street from the old parsonage stands the home of the late Doris 
Hoinghaus, our able town clerk and worker for the Historical Society. Her 
accidental death, December 27, 1963, caused grief to all. At the rear of her 
home sat the tumble-down ruins of the first Post Office. It was moved to this 
location when the original church building was moved in 1852. It is hoped that 
this Post Office can be restored and placed in a town-owned lot facing South 
Street which takes in most of the land to the rear of the Holmes Public Library. 
The first regular school-teacher, Jonathan Sears, lived in the house next to the 
Hoinghaus home. This same house served as a boarding house for other school- 
teachers through the years. Mrs. Jewett, the boarding-house mistress, was a per- 
sonal friend of mine. She was both counselor and disciplinarian to the young 
women teachers in her charge. Of course, I courted favors here, and Mrs. J. sort 
of tolerated me. We all took good care of Mrs. Jewett, seeking her favor by 
performing all the little chores only a man can do. Down the lane a bit behind 
Mrs. Jewett's barn stood the Woodcroft Farm. The name is not entirely 
descriptive of what went on here as it was mostly concerned with horticulture 
and floriculture. An old cape cod house, badly in need of repair, stood there as 
a front building which served as the storehouse for boxes and pots. The green- 
house was quite large and the water reservoir was located in the center of the 
complex, making an attractive surface for the reflections of the windmill and 
the brick stack that came up through the center of the boiler room. It was 
certainly one of the show places of Halifax when I was young. The old house 
was the Deacon Waterman home and was probably one of the first in town. 
The Deacon was a founding father, and some early town meetings were held 
under his roof, as were some early church conclaves. The Woodcroft Farm 
eventually went by the board and a lovely home was built on the property by 
Edward Ramseyer. It was understood that this palatial structure was to be the 
permanent residence of the Ramseyers who had enjoyed the delights of East 
Lake on Paradise Lane. The move to the Woodcroft Farm site was made after 



100 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Halifax Country Club occupies the land that was once the Woodcroft 
Farm. 



this big new home was finished. Not long afterwards, however, the place was sold 
to Ralph Atwood, a lawyer and farmer. Mr. Atwood was town assessor for many 
years. Mrs. Atwood, his wife, was the Halifax Librarian from 1952 to 1956. She 
then took a post as librarian at Falmouth where she served for many years until 
her recent retirement. This big and fairly new house down the lane was acquired 
by Lawrence Henrich and, after much renovation, was transformed into what is 
now the clubhouse of the Halifax Country Club. Traveling along Plymouth 
Street, one now encounters the newest place of business in Halifax— Jim Sturte- 
vant's auto repair shop built in 1974. Of course, everyone knows of the 
activities on the opposite side of our Main Street— the "Sturdy Sturtevant 
Chick" enterprise now under new management. 

Back on the south side of the street and at the corner of Monponsett and 
Plymouth Streets stands the Hayward Liquor Store. This business was opened 
by the late Ralph Hayward. He bought the property from the Hatfield family 
who had operated a grocery store there for many years. Opposite is the now 
familiar Nessralla vegetable, flower and plant stand. It was near this location 
that our first schoolhouse, known as Schoolhouse No. 1, was located. It was 
later moved to the foot of Meeting House Hill and became our first Fire Station. 
Originally, Stafford Sturtevant gave the town the plot of land on which this 
schoolhouse was built. Across the highway at the intersection of Routes 106 
and 58, the Stafford Sturtevant farm stood. Reportedly one of the richest men 
in Plymouth County, in 1815 Sturtevant built "Pope's Tavern" located opposite 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 101 

the Congregational Church. This building is now the home of Mrs. Violet Brown. 
Built in 1825, it was Sturtevant's wedding present to his daughter. As mentioned 
before, Mr. Sturtevant's granddaughter, Mrs. Frances A. Humphrey, was the 
author of our one and only novel, The Children of Parks Tavern, published in 
1866. 

Shortly before the turn of the century, the Stafford Sturtevant farm was 
acquired by Van Buren Grover. In 1898, Mr. Grover acted as host to a group 
of farmers from around town and the late Elroy Thompson claimed in his 
history of the area that it was the first organized Farmer's Club in America. This 
corner had always been empty save for the schoolhouse, and formed a large front 
to the Charles Cook home and the Bicycle Repair Shop which Mr. Cook operated 
for many years. As one continues east along Plymouth Street, he comes to an 
area just before the town cemetery where the Old Colony Railroad Nursery was 
located. The business was conducted on both sides of the street and even to this 
day one can see traces of the many kinds of bushes and plants that were 
cultivated here. The East Cemetery is next, the origins of which we have already 
discussed. The land opposite the East Cemetery is the town-owned Richmond 
Park. This gift to the town came from the Richmond heirs. Mrs. Richmond was 
a Parker and the superintendent of the nursery was also a Parker. On November 
30, 1868 the Richmonds gave this tract to the town of Halifax. At this time, 
"the town voted to put a fence on the North and West sides of the East 
Cemetery." For some unknown reason, the deed to the park was not recorded 
but the transaction was finalized on June 28, 1908. Behind this recreational 
area the town water wells are located. Further along the street, at the inter- 
section of Holmes and Plymouth Streets, we arrive at the spot where it is said 
the first white man spent some time within the town's limits. Mrs. lola Taft 
related to me the story of her own father showing her the spot where John 
Sturtevant was supposed to have lived. The remains of a rustic foundation were 
still visible to her at that time. This early visitor to the shores of the pond was 
an obscure figure and his final resting place is not known. 

A schoolhouse is indicated on the early maps quite close to the intersection 
of Plymouth and Holmes Streets. From this point along the "Old Plymouth 
Road" to Plymouth only two houses were situated before reaching the Plympton 
line. First came the Sylvester house which has lost some of its "old cape" look. 
There is still some record of old Mr. Sylvester's activities, however. It seems that 
Mr. Sylvester was the singing master and later choir master of the Congregational 
Church. For many years. Deacon Waterman had set the tunes at church, where- 
upon Deacon Sturtevant would take over. When Sylvester became singing 
master. Deacon Waterman resented his new style and refused to stay in the 
church during his conducting of the choir and congregation singing. While 
Sylvester and Waterman both resided in the same part of town, they were 
obviously far apart in their choices of vocal salutations to the Lord on Sundays. 
A daughter of Mr. Sylvester became a singing teacher. A charming lady of some 
ninety years, Mrs. Merton, who now resides in Kingston, related to me her 
experiences as a student of Sylvester's singing school conducted by a descendant 
of the earlier Sylvester family. She told of the long ride by horse and carriage, 
the pleasant association with other young people and the lifelong friendships 
that developed among the folk at the singing school. 



102 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

The second and last house on this, the "Old Bridgewater Road," as I like to 
call it, is the place built by Mr. Soule. At the Bicentennial, it was declared the 
oldest house standing in the entire town. The two noble trees that shade the 
home have been landmarks for many years and the witch-cross paneling on the 
inside woodwork of this house is a special treat to visitors. 

Until recent years a small beach on Holmes Street, just off Plymouth Street, 
was the town's only public bathing place. Today there are other designated 
landings open to the public, but except for the town beach on Lingan Street, 
none are used very often. The private beach on Annawon Drive is restricted to 
members of a local group, as is the beach at the end of 11th Avenue. 

After crossing the inlet to East Lake, one reaches the confluence of the shore 
and Holmes Street. It was here that the soap factory owned by the Holmes 
family was located. This business was well-established and supplied many well- 
known products throughout the country. Mr. Nathaniel Holmes lived in the time 
of my youth and, on my trips to the freight office for supplies, I would enjoy 
two repeating incidents. Mr. Holmes would invariably treat me to some russet 
apples and I would drive the horse into the lake for a short distance to permit 
her to "tank up." Besides quenching the horse's thirst, this practice would wet 
the wooden wheels, causing them to swell and tighten, eliminating the need for 
replacing dried-out spokes and rattling felloes. Of course, it was only a tem- 
porary measure and eventually the wheelwright would have to "set" the tires— 
a procedure I have already described. Continuing along Holmes, it must be 
noted that the next item mentioned, though failing to qualify as a business 
enterprise, still provided a commodity of sorts— peaches. A Mr. Fred Krause 
lived in a very old and distinguished-looking house. He was classified by my 
generation as a hermit or recluse. He was an accomplished pianist and whenever 
a contingent of young people found themselves in his neighborhood they would 
pay him a visit and he'd play the piano for his visitors. All this was a cultural 
gain for us and I'm sure more than helped Mr. K. pass his time away. There was 
a particular time of year when we would find ourselves more often in his area— 
during the peach season. After paying our respects to Mr. Krause, we would, 
head for his orchards (of which we knew the exact layout) and, unbeknown to 
him, help ourselves to his peaches. We never stole his watermelons simply because 
we could purloin this item at other more convenient places. Really, one needed 
an almanac to keep track of our seasonal activities, most of which were carried 
out at night. Strawberries got the season started and gave us a chance to warm 
up, then came the season for peaches and, finally, we would round out the long 
summer-growing months in our neighbor's melon patches. The only way the 
barren winter, as compared to the lush summer season, can be made endurable is 
by preserving all your favorites to be relished on cold winter evenings. Preserving 
is an art. Take apples, for example. Just get the essence, the juice from the 
apples, and you have cider. Sweet cider comes first and a little of that to be 
shared with the distaff side is sociable. Stored in a barrel and with patience it 
will become "hard cider." I have struggled for a long time over this term and 
conclude that it's called "hard" because it's a hard job to wait for it to ferment 
enough to make it hard to resist. Sauerkraut was another interesting favorite. 
To make it you first have to raise the cabbages. Then, make a cutter just like 
your father's father made before him and cut the cabbages up into a barrel. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 103 

Keep lots of freshly-washed, young feet tramping the sauerkraut down firmly. 
Once the barrel is filled, top it off with a tight-fitting inside cover and place a 
heavy stone on top. After a few weeks the fermented juice will condition the 
cut-up cabbages so that, by simply opening the cellar door, you can smell the 
aroma. Mother used to embellish this delight by boiling hunks of salt pork with 
the kraut. Once a steaming kettle of the mixture landed on the table, there was 
no disposal problem. 

At the time of this writing, I am waiting for the fresh herring to arrive in our 
streams. I'll eat them no matter what and there is another item that may be of 
value to future generations who want to augment their food supplies— apple pie. 
Apples must be pared, then sliced to wafer-thin thickness and hung up to dry by 
threading. The string ends must be fixed to both walls of the kitchen and placed 
high enough to avoid the reach of impatient young eaters. Mrs. Nymphus 
Marston, an octogenarian living on Elm Street and long since finished with the 
raising of her own boys, didn't suspect her own grandson and his buddies of 
grabbing slices of apples on occasion when we could invent an excuse to get to 
the "Fruit Corner." They were sliced. We didn't have potato chips. Even now 
I'll choose the dried, sliced apples! 

Traveling along Holmes Street brings us to the site of an early schoolhouse. It 
was the only schoolhouse in Halifax ever to suffer an act of sabotage. Here are 
the salient facts of the attempt to remove this house of learning. There had been 
great issue on the part of town residents as to where the schoolhouse was to be 
located. The decision was finally rendered and the school built. It was not a 
unanimous decision, however, and the short life of the school was filled with 
trials and tribulations. It culminated in some disgruntled parties attempting to 
burn it down. The attempt failed but an individual who stole the stovepipe and 
stove was apprehended. When we say apprehended, we don't mean convicted, 
because no witnesses could be found to make the charge stick. The stove and 
stovepipe were mysteriously returned to the school. Shortly afterwards, the 
faction opposed to this schoolhouse built a new one near the corner of Holmes 
and Plymouth Streets. 

As one approaches the railroad crossing in this same vicinity, there is, to the 
west side of Holmes Street, a driveway into the Halifax Garden Company. This 
enterprise was founded and syndicated in September of 1905. In its early years, 
much outdoor growing was done. As recorded earlier, it is now one of our most 
prosperous businesses. 

The railroad was run through Halifax in 1845 and, at the same time, the Old 
Colony Nursery was established. It was here that the stock was raised for the 
entire landscaping of the Old Colony Railroad Line. The nursery burned down 
in 1890. Edmund Churchill was employed by the nursery, as was Mrs. T. D. 
Morton, whose daughter tells us that the hired personnel were driven to the 
railroad station every week to collect their pay from the paymaster who travelled 
the length of the line in the paymaster's car. In an official document of the 
Town of Halifax is the report of the losses appraised by the insurance company 
when settlement was made following the fire that consumed the nursery hot- 
house. At the crossing stood the R. R. Station where the C. P. Washburn Lumber 
business is now located. 

Beyond the crossing, and on the west side of the street, is a very old house 



104 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

occupied by C. R. Winchester. It was once the C. White place. The building's 
close proximity to the road reminds us of a custom in the early days of building 
dwellings as close to the road as possible to avoid the tedious work of shoveling 
out in winter. Further along the road on the right side is the VFW building. 
Just across the Halifax line and on the same side is the drive into the Silver Lake 
Pumping Station, located on Halifax land. Also located here is a new six-million- 
dollar filtering plant built to clear Silver Lake water for Brockton's use. The small 
sub-station at the head of the East Monponsett Lake on Holmes Street has been 
operating for only a few years. This building contains the controls of the 
overflow pipeline that runs backward and takes surplus water from the lakes 
back to Silver Lake when the water level of the two Monponsett Lakes is in 
excess of fifty-six feet above sea level. Oak Street crosses Holmes Street running 
from the Plympton line to the Hanson line and, in general, forms the Halifax 
boundary line running from Silver Lake Pond (Jones River Pond) to the Stetson 
pond area. In the past, there has been little activity on the section of this road 
that runs to the east except that it has served as an access roadway for entering 
paths to the shores of Silver Lake. The rolling hills that make up the topography 
on both sides of Oak Street were the best source of mayflowers in this town. 
Now, however, this tract of land is going into the development called "Silver 
Lake Shores." Traveling along Oak to the west of Holmes Street we come to a 
road leading south and ending at a small body of water, called Muddy Pond, as 
shown on the 1879 map. Today, this same lake is called Crystal Lake. It's still a 
mystery as to who changed the name from Muddy or better still who named it 
"Muddy Pond" in the first place! It's a fine, clear body of water and deserves 
the name "Crystal." 

Continuing along Oak Street in a northerly direction to Stetson Pond in 
Pembroke, we come to where stood a lone pine, supposedly marking the bound- 
ary of the John Tomson land, a 6,000 acre tract that he bargained for with the 
Indians. A Pembroke historian friend of mine who passed away in 1920 had a 
small box made of wood from this pine which I call the "Stetson Pine Box." 
This box is one of my prize possessions. 

Back again to the trunk line of Halifax— Plymouth Street— we can con- 
tinue back en route to the center of town. Just west of the East Cemetery is a 
way called Paradise Lane. Several summer homes dating back to about 1875 
formed a little colony bordering on the lake. Paul DeSilva arrived here to 
vacation with his family and frequently used the services of my father's black- 
smith shop. Paul built iceboats in the summer and in the winter enjoyed ice- 
boating on the lakes. He was a perfectionist and always worked to improve his 
craft, much of which depended on iron work. He was a special customer who 
generally arrived on weekends and often took Saturday night supper with the 
Baker family. He owned the first motorcycle Halifax ever saw. He rode it across 
the United States and could tell hair-raising tales of adventures he had in the 
days long before motels were even thought of. I accompanied him on his trial 
runs on his iceboats many times. Retreating back in the direction of the center 
of town, the next exit off Plymouth is Monponsett Street. Proceeding towards 
the pond on this Monponsett Street, one travels on the roadway that was made 
after some years of petitioning. In my collection of papers pertaining to the 
construction of this road are four or five testimonials supporting or objecting to 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



105 




Silver Lake Pumping Station in Halifax on Silver Lake. It serves as the 
primary water source for Brockton and is a supplementary water source 
for several nearby towns. 



106 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




The Halifax Railroad Station, built in 1845, stood near the crossing 
on Holmes Street, near the present site of the C. P. Washburn Lumber Co. 







Monponsett Station. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 107 

its acceptance. The White family, who lived in a house on the corner of Ocean 
Avenue and what later became Monponsett Street, had to travel all the way 
around the East Lake to get to town. Church attendance was compulsory in 
those days and the trip was always a long and arduous one for the Whites, 
particularly in bad weather. A solution to the problem was finally worked out 
after much experimentation. A ferry system worked for a time. And several 
bridges were proposed. In 1859, the fill was made and a bridge constructed to 
permit the flow of water to West Lake from East Lake. Mr. Isaac Sturtevant 
worked on this project as a young man and his daughter, Mrs. Taft, told me of 
his having worked on this job. I knew Mr. Sturtevant. He died in 1907. The 
bridge, of course, joined White's Island to the mainland. At one time White's 
Island was a retreat of the Indians, for Chief Wamsutta and his braves in 
particular. The road and the bridge closed up the water gap into which Major 
Church once flushed 120 Indians he had surprised as he approached from the side 
where the Monponsett Inn now stands. The Indians had no way of escape and 
had to surrender to a force waiting on the shore where, two centuries later, 
A. R. Parker built his ice cream stand. Here Toto's Restaurant once served 
patrons and now is graced by a lovely residence owned by Mr. and Mrs. 
Alfred V. DesRosiers. The island has been fully built up with homes and a stone 
has been placed to mark the meeting of the colonists with Wamsutta, the son of 
Massasoit. The park and beach— just beyond the marker and opposite it— is 
called Wamsutta. This beach is a private project which we hope will someday 
become a public facility. 

Continuing along past Wamsutta Beach, one arrives at the present "Mon- 
ponsett." In 1890 Mr. M. Schindler built a hotel here to accommodate patrons, 
mostly from Boston. Rail service came to Whitman, less frequently to Hanson 
and Halifax. These stations were used by vacationers and, of course, people 
came from surrounding communities by horse and carriage to the hotel. Many 
sportsmen from the Brockton area would use the trolley system that came into 
the district in South Hanson and Bryantville. Ice-fishing was quite popular. Mr. 
Charles Cook, the bicycle repairman referred to previously, was the man in 
charge of the Hotel Gunning Stand. He fixed my bike but never took me to the 
gunning stand. Maturity, steadiness and experience were required for success in 
this company of sportsmen and it has been rumored that aptitude with a deck of 
cards came in handy. And, of course, up to that time I had not developed much 
experience in these areas. Mr. Schindler lost the hotel by fire in 1895, and it was 
rebuilt that same year. I have an interesting picture of the hotel and its reflection 
in the water in my own collection. It's difficult to tell from its reflection which 
is the actuEd hotel. After the passing of Mr. Schindler, his son Robert and his 
wife Molly took over the operation of the hotel. Its popularity grew as did the 
practice of building small cottages around the lakes. The railroad even established 
a Monponsett Station in 1911. It was strictly to accommodate Boston traffic to 
the lake shores and hotel. I can recaill watching people board these trains to 
return to the city on a Sunday night. Usually there would be enough people to 
fill five or six day coaches. Our sympathies went with those who had to travel 
in torrid cars back to a sweltering city. Air conditioning was, of course, unheard 
of in those days. But the invigorating Halifax air absorbed for a couple of days 
would do much to sustain the poor creatures until they could return in another 
week's time. 



108 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 





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HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



109 




Monponsett Inn. Built in 1961, it was officially opened on July 24, 
1963. 

The automobile opened wide the avenues to outlying localities where folk 
from the congested urban areas could refresh and rest themselves. When the auto 
did finally arrive people began to seek out what had, until then, been forbidden 
places and Halifax took a more prominent place on the map. The trend to move 
to the country is still popular, though it's more and more difficult to find 
property for sale hereabouts. The tactic of stacking people in condominiums is 
now gaining favor. Now, instead of spreading out, we are going up, so watch us 
grow tall. In any case, on with the story of our one and only public hostelry. 
After being rebuilt, the hotel prospered for many years. It housed a pool table 
for indoor amusement as well as a bowling alley. Boating was also popular. The 
boathouse was located on the opposite side of the street from the hotel. Bathing 
wasn't the universal pastime it is today, so beaches were used more for paddling. 
Beyond the semi-immersion one got from the washtub planted in front of the 
kitchen stove, it was the "Old Swimming Hole" and an occasional dip under 
cover of darkness that contented us. On the west side of Monponsett Street, 
family units built their camps or cottages. Today a house lot on the "Lakes" is 
out of the question. The deepest part of either lake is located to the extreme 
west on the lake off Milford Street. There is a public landing here at the end of 
Milford Street which lies directly in the path of the dividing line between Halifax 
and Hanson. While the Monponsett Station was on the Hanson side and the 
Monponsett Post Office was also in Hanson, this area is coveted by Halifax, too. 
The Post Office, the first in this area of Monponsett, was originally operated by 
Bert Marshall and was exactly opposite the Monponsett Railroad Station. Mrs. 
Marshall was the telephone operator at the Bryantville exchange for many years. 



110 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 





A group of strollers on the bridge between Monponsett Lakes. The 
roadway and bridge were built in 1845. 



Heading home now we will glance at both sides of the Monponsett Lake and 
take note of previous omissions. At the end of Milford Street, at the water's 
edge if one looks out to the outlet of Monponsett Pond, one can see the 
beginning of a course some twenty-four miles long that ends in Narragansett Bay. 
And as one goes along with eyes still to the right, one sees where John Uston 
built and managed our Monponsett Movie House for many years. The Clam 
House, a concession adjacent to the movie theater, was operated for some time 
by Al and Rose Centrella and later by Elena Gentile Cimorelli. 

Still on Monponsett Street heading toward Plymouth Street, we pass the 
Gentile's Lakeview Manor. This once housed a restaurant and at one time Benjamin 
Cianfarani used it as an auction hall. Across the street is the local Catholic 
Church and opposite it is the Rectory. Originally, this Rectory was a home built 
by the son-in-law of Mr. Schindler, owner of the first Monponsett Hotel. Con- 
tinuing along Monponsett Street and through the "Narrows" one comes upon the 
the establishment of Mr. Paul Sturtevant. His heating oil business represents one 
of the major service setups in the town. Clark and Wilson, the other heating oil 
suppliers, were located on Carver Street where Millage Corkum Transportation 
Company now makes its headquarters. To skip about a bit, the ice cream stand 
located on this same Carver Street was founded by my late and dear friend 
George W. Estes. This area is not new to business ventures. Nearby was once 
located the Bosworth Ordinary, between the Central School and where Broder 
ick's equipment business is located. Russ Bonney and his wife Linda built a 
store opposite the site of the old Martin Bosworth Tavern or "Ordinary" as it 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



111 




Grove at West Lake, Monponsett, 1910, near Standish Manor. Grove 
bridal paths and roads leading to the lake were laid out across many 
rustic bridges. 



112 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Halifax Garden Company opposite former site of Railroad Station on 
Holmes Street. Greenhouses, hundreds of feet long, house hybrid roses 
which are shipped throughout the world. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 113 

was called. This store was established in 1915; it burned down in 1920 and was 
never rebuilt. Its location was at the exact spot where the new Post Office is 
now located. Just opposite here once sat a woolen warehouse. (Since I enjoyed 
this leap of some miles to Carver Street, I choose to jump back again to 
Monponsett Street.) 

The Van Buren Grover farm on Monponsett Street, which included all the 
land that until lately was the Henry Kunkel place, was a showplace and a well- 
operated enterprise. Mr. Grover came to Halifax from Rockland where he had 
worked in a shoe factory. He was prominent in the founding of the Halifax 
Farmers Club. The Grover farm buildings were all destroyed by fire on the first 
day of the first month of the first year of the 20th century. Later, in my teen 
years, a family named Tyler ran the farm and raised special canteloupes for seed 
for the Breed Seed Co. of Boston. Since the fruit was raised only for seed, we 
young fellows were generously supplied with the edible insides of the melons 
after which the seeds would be collected. 

There is some evidence that, in 1867, Ephraim Stetson began to cultivate 
cranberries in Halifax. In a cove above the "Narrows," up Stump Pond way, a 
narrow out-cropping of berries led Mr. Stetson to begin training cranberry vines 
to run; then, he pruned them in a manner to permit easier harvesting. Small 
pieces of bogs soon sprang into existence where moist land could be drained and 
the turf bottom prepared to carry a medium thickness of sand. Our swamp areas 
lent themselves to this "building"— a reference to the bog construction. There 
was a small piece of bog in front of Thomas Harlow's house on Thompson Street 
near Summit Street. As a boy I joined the ambitious folk about our neighbor- 
hood and lent a hand to aid Mr. Harlow in harvesting his crop of berries. He 
paid ten cents for each six-quart measure of berries. I only remember picking 
one day, however, and do not recall showing up for a repeat performance. Hand 
picking has since passed to snap machine picking, then to scooping and nowadays 
to the "Floating Method." Edwin Hayward built a bog on Hayward Street. 
Lester Bourne constructed another on Thompson Street. (Incidentally, and by 
contrast, Mr. Hayward's son Edwin reports that on their farm they sometimes 
raised cabbages that weighed as much as twenty pounds— how much would a 
cranberry weigh?) 

The big bog movement into cranberry production came when the United 
Cape Cod Cranberry Co. was organized in 1904 and Marcus Urann began selling 
shares in the newly-formed company. The A. C. Burrage Cranberry Co. was 
founded in 1905. It was also the date of the founding of the Halifax Garden 
Co., also organized by A. C. Burrage. Henry S. Damon was appointed first 
general manager of the Garden Co. The initial plan was to build large green- 
houses and do some outdoor growing. The north walls of the greenhouses were 
boarded up while the other three sides and the roof were glassed in. The 
supporting timbers were Florida Gulf Cypress. Ten miles of lV4-inch pipe was 
installed for heating the entire plant. The glass covering the eight houses totalled 
100,000 square feet. At first, five houses were used for lettuce and cucumber 
growing. The remaining three houses were used to grow English violets. Five 
houses were 40 by 300 feet and three were 300 by 23 feet. Beds were 
seventeen feet long and the walks between the beds measured two feet in 
width. The bottoms of the beds were covered with three inches of clay with 



114 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

porous drain pipes embedded. A covering of fifteen inches of compost lay over 
the clay bottom. The capacity of one of the large houses approaches 24,000 
lettuce plants with three crops per year. Acres were set aside out of doors for the 
exclusive growing of celery. The company bought 300 acres of land near the 
Halifax Depot for the greenhouses. To this day, the Burrage family still controls 
the property, although only roses and carnations are grown. In 1969 the 
superintendent of the company estimated that the market value of an acre of 
roses was $244,000. At that time there were twenty-nine full-time employees of 
the Halifax Garden Co. and the payroll approached $200,000. Taxes in this 
same 1969 came to $13,000 and the company used 141,960 gallons of water per 
year, at a cost of approximately $3,000. The average yearly oil consumption 
was around 450,000 gallons. For many years snakes were used to control pests 
in rose growing. Happily, the use of insecticides ended the usefulness of snakes. 
The climate here is ideal for roses with plenty of sunlight and air. In the twenty 
years that Jack Duffy, their superintendent of the company, worked for the 
Burrages, the bins in which the roses grew were not emptied. The A. C. Burrage 
Co. was also the developer of the Burrage Bogs off the pond side of Elm Street, 
extending beyond to the Hanson Line. Actually the great Hanson Cedar Swamp 
fringes the entire bog layout. The Wine Brook Bog is another layout located on 
the west side of Monponsett Lake. The Boy Scout Camp at Orchard Point is in 
this same general area. "Wine Brook" can be seen from across West Lake on its 
west shore. The origin of its name was from the color of the water that flows 
out of the brook that drains the swamp land near the pond. The wine color 
comes from the many red cedars that grow in the cedar swamp. Several other 
pieces of bogs can be found here and there throughout Halifax. The upkeep on 
small patches is, however, becoming too expensive and they are fast becoming 
lost to the encroaching forest land. Their scars will be with us for a long time, 
though, since the ditches will be slow to level off. The Bourne family had a bog 
off Thompson Street which was later owned by a Braddock of Carver and then by 
Clyde Bosworth. The Cumberland Farm Company has bought up this land and 
Russell Sturtevant has built a few acres of bog just east of the "Old Indian Trail." 
General farming and dairy farming were the major sources of income for 
Halifax farmers when I was young. The farms were large enough to afford 
pasturing in good weather and to raise fodder crops for feed to be used during 
our rugged winter months. As I swing a circle in my mind from the lakes to Elm 
Street, I recall the cows at Brad Waterman's place and, in later years, at George 
Sturtevant's, George Hayward's, Irving Minott's, Jabe Thompson's and, into 
my own neighborhood, Dan Bosworth's and the Gummow's, and "way back," at 
Martin Howland's. Finally "way up" on Hudson Street I recall Fred Simpson 
and his cows. My own family had a couple of horses and one cow, a small flock 
of hens, pigs and now and then a dog. We were not farmers. However, it was a 
rich life for me playing in the shop and mixing with the townspeople as they 
came for blacksmith services. Soon I grew to do light work on the wagon wheels 
and clinch the shoes on horses' feet after the shoer had nailed them on. In time 
I grew to do all the common types of work in the shop, though never, ever, did I 
actually nail on a horseshoe in those apprentice years. Only the master of the 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



115 



im^jg^MM 





I ar^sja'^rfs. 



. -.*^1t' V '^^*t c 



c .•s:a-».'i3-s.: jK*tsaasMstffi2if£:::;c.i'! 



Cranberry harvesting on a Halifax bog. 




116 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

trade, the blacksmith, ever nailed on shoes. Cutting and clinching nails and 
pulling off the old shoes was my job, only, of course, in reverse order. 

After the decline in dairy farming, chicken farming became popular. It w^as 
about this time that Professor Lunn moved into Halifax and raised his stock on 
Carver Street. After some years of raising eggs and fowl for market, his son 
Alfred moved into the dressing of fowl and shipping to market. Much of the 
business was transporting "day-old" chickens. The trucking end of the business 
was up-to-date and grew to be a significant part of the economy in Halifax. 
Except for the Sturtevant farm and a few in neighboring towns, the chicken 
business is now centered in other areas. It was common to hear the farmers 
speak of incubators with 20,000 eggs "setting" at a time. It was astounding to 
learn of the Sturtevant boys earning $100 a day sexing day-old chicks. And, it 
was not unusual to hear my son or some other driver of the Lunn fleet say "I'll 
call you tomorrow from Arkansas or from a delivery point in the Carolinas." At 
one time in my youth I worked as a clerk in Willet's Store, now the home of 
Mrs. Gray opposite our library. I also worked in Grant's Store and Restaurant 
on Broad Street in Bridgewater while I attended high school and I ran a small 
grocery route on Saturday mornings through Westdale. I soon learned that it 
was imperative to handle the eggs with care and to see to it that the kerosene 
cans were secured by pushing a small potato into the pouring spout. So my 
knowledge of the egg aspect of the poultry business and its intricacies is basic to 
a degree. But Mr. Lunn never entrusted me with a trailer load of eggs or chicks. 
So, let's move away from the poultry business. 

When it needed expert attention, my bike was usually tended by Charles 
Cook, as previously mentioned. It was nearly two miles to Mr. Cook's Shop, 
located on the corner of Plymouth and Monponsett Streets. Brass plugs, rubber 
plugs and links for broken chains were far beyond my ingenuity. Once in Mr. 
Cook's Shop, however, the exposure to all the new gadgets was often too much 
to bear, so a fellow patronized the shop as little as possible to keep from buying 
it all. My father's bike was a few years older than mine and it had solid rubber 
tires. It cost him $100 and was a Columbia. When I was at the Brockton Fair 
some ten years ago with an industrial exhibit for the Town of Halifax I met a 
gentleman who told me of his association many years before with my father and 
that my father had helped him fix his bicycle. It had wooden wheels bound by 
iron tires. I have a picture of the vehicle in my collection. Peter Tetraut also ran 
a repair shop for bicycles, but the bulk of his business had to do with shoe repair. 
He was located on Circuit Street opposite the Blacksmith Shop. Speaking of 
shoe repair, Mr. Charles Whitney, a Civil War veteran, kept a shoe repair business 
at his home on Plymouth Street next door to what is now an apartment complex 
known as the Farmhouse. Mrs. Myrtle Armstrong, an Estes before marriage, tells 
of how she'd go to Mr. Whitney's shop during lunch break from school at the 
Town Hall for minor repairs to her shoes and return in time to make the after- 
noon session. The trip was a good quarter of a mile or more. Mrs. Armstrong 
was the church organist for many years. She was also the accompanist for all 
social gatherings in the town. All such affairs were usually held in the church or 
Town Hall. She recently turned ninety. The blacksmith shops that have served 
this community since the founding of the settlement afford an opportunity to 
study the habits of the townspeople, and the individual blacksmiths in particular. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



117 



The town fathers felt the need for a blacksmith to do the iron work for the local 
farmers, the lumbermen and the millwrights, so they contracted with Job Drew 
on July 23, 1805 to come to Halifax and ply his trade. He set up shop on 
Hemlock Lane, a short distance from where the Town Barn now stands. This 
blacksmith shop burned down long ago and, in turn, several others were set up 
in different parts of town, usually near the mills or the furnaces on Furnace 
Street. One of the latter was the shop at the junction of Plymouth and Circuit 
Streets at Pine Street. Known as the John Watson Shop, it was founded in 1878. 
The blacksmiths that came and left Halifax through the years were mostly 
itinerant smiths until my father's appearance in 1893. He began as a young man 
in a business that would last until his death in 1946. The original shop did not 
have the addition that is now used by Frank Malaney as an auction gallery. This 
addition was made in 1915, as we expanded the operation of the shop to include 
automobile repairwork. We were the first, incidentally, to offer a filling station 
and garage in Halifax. My connection with the garage was to last only a short 
while, as I left to teach school in Bridgewater in 1920. The shop has an ox frame 
used for shoeing oxen. This and the frogs are the principal relics left from the 
days when a man's pace was almost "down to a walk." In those days, when 




The J. B. Baker Blacksmith Shop, built in 1875, located in triangle 
formed by Plymouth, Pine and Circuit Streets. 



118 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Ox Frame - located in the J. B. Baker Blacksmith Shop on Old 
Plymouth Street. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 119 

horses set the pace, much of the settling of the world's problems took place in 
the village blacksmith's shop. One sometimes thinks that people are too busy to 
be neighborly these days, but not so in years past. The blacksmith shops 
provided a common meeting place for the menfolk. Situated at the crossroads, 
and unavoidable (for it was the only place nearby for service to a man and his 
beast), princes and paupers, generals and politicians, governors and, in one case, 
a future president, stopped to visit with my father. National, state, county, 
municipal or town officials would pass through at various times and stop at the 
shop. James Curley, or "Jim" as he liked to be called. Mayor of Boston, and 
later Governor of Massachusetts, chose to say hello to Father whenever he passed 
this way. And speaking of meeting people, when the Tricentennial of the 
Pilgrim's Landing in Plymouth was celebrated in 1920, it was the thrill of my 
life to be able to stand on the platform with my father and greet President 
Harding. 

Turning back, when I was about ten years old, an important event occurred in 
my life. Mr. Robert Edwards, the renowned technician in the field of electronics 
and electrician for the Colonial Theater in Boston, bought the John Watson 
place next to the Blacksmith Shop. He grew to be a lifelong friend and was like 
a foster parent to the Baker children. The Edwards used their place as a summer 
residence but, after retirement, spent many years as our neighbors in Halifax. 
He and his wife were childless and adopted us Bakers into their lives and shared 
many of their activities with us. When I was old enough to appreciate it, I would 
go to Boston via train to be met at South Station by the Edwards and taken to 
concerts and the theater, etc. I attended the 1912 World Series in Boston as their 
guest. Brother James and sister Zillah followed suit when their turns came. Our 
association with these wonderful people spanned almost sixty years. 





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General Store, Halifax center, opposite Town Hall, 1903. 



STORES 

The first store in Halifax was located on the corner of what is now Elm Street 
and Furnace Street. It was run by Thomas Croade. Today's center of town was, 
in the very early days, merely the high point of and the choice of site for the 
"Meeting House." The mills were usually the center of activity and located on 
waterways before any established roads were available for travel. A very elderly 
friend of mine, long since gone, told me how his father would leave his house on 
Monponsett Street and go to the Monponsett Lake, get aboard his boat and run 
it across the West Lake and down through Stump Pond to a landing on what is 
now Elm Street, then walk up to Inglee's Store (Mr. Croade 's successor) to make 
his purchases. He said it was the same route his father took many years before 
him when this was the only source of "store-bought" goods in town. This 
building is now used as a residence. At the start of this century, Nathan Perkins 
kept the store, followed by Frank Lyon. His daughter. Bertha Lyon, was my 
piano teacher when the family lived there. She married Carl Otto and in time 
they built a home in the rear of Otto's Park. Mr. Carl Otto was a professional 
musician and he took part in numerous town affairs. The next store to appear 
was located near the site of the present Central School. Martin Bosworth 
operated an Ordinary or Inn here and indications are that he ran a general store 
near the Town Hall. Old maps place the store halfway between the Town Hall 
and Hemlock Lane. Later, the Packard Bros, founded a store on the land 
directly opposite the Town Hall. Were it still there it would rest right in the 
middle of Mrs. Violet Brown's driveway. The Post Office was located here, too, 
and the hitching rails stood on the westerly side of the store even in my time. 
The Packard's store was situated a little back, and in the complex was a law 
office where Judge Robert Harris of East Bridgewater supposedly studied his 
first law lessons under the tutelage of Welcome Young. For a short time Harris 
taught school in Halifax. I have seen the orders for the drawing of pay for him 
by the Board of Selectmen. When the Packard Bros, dissolved their business, 
Frank Lyon bought it. George Estes was the next owner and operator of the 
store. Family provisions, grain for farmers, the Post Office and weighing scales 
made up the major part of the business. The weighing scales were an official set 
of platform scales installed opposite the store on what is now the Town Hall 
lawn. They were known as the "Hay Scales." All such items as farm products, 
hay and grains would be weighed while still on the wagon and a previously 
established weight of the empty wagon would be subtracted from the gross 
weight for the net weight of the actual goods. The official slip was never 

121 



122 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 





Hayward's Corner — the crossroads of commerce and traffic in modem- 
day Halifax. 





Rose's Boston Store. Opposite Ocean Ave. on Monponsett Street. 
Owned by Fred and Rose Syston (about 1910). 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 123 

challenged, the weigher having been duly authorized by town officials to perform 
this important task. Eventually, the Estes store was moved to the foot of the 
hill next to where the library now stands, and the scales followed along. A son, 
Albion, ran this store for some years, then Ans Anderson took over. Harry Minor 
ran it next and it included the Post Office. Rufus Case then followed as pro- 
prietor and he eventually sold out to Alex King. Mr. King kept the store in this 
building a few years and finally moved it to the present-day King's Supermarket 
complex. His son, David, is proprietor of the entire operation which gives 
Halifax much the same air as other towns in the area. Considering the fact that 
the police and fire stations and the Allied Auto Parts plant are all within a 
"stone's throw" of each other, we have a fairly large business center. The 
Gentile family had previously established another market on Monponsett Street 
near the Hanson line. The control and management of that enterprise is still in 
the family. Cesare Gentile, Sr., the founder, was active in the American Legion 
and a generous and helpful citizen. His two sons, Cesare, Jr. and Alberico, and 
their mother Grace M. C. Gentile carried on the business until Cesare Jr. 's death 
in 1971. He served for years on the Finance Board of the town and made many 
contributions to the orderly process of government in Halifax. The remaining 
members of the Gentile family now conduct the business. 

On Monponsett Street, beyond Ocean Avenue, there was a store known 
as the Boston Store operated by Arthur Willet. Mr. Edward G. Henrich operates 
another store on the corner of Annawon Drive and Holmes Street. This is known 
as the "Halifax Superette." It was run by Carmen Scrow prior to Mr. Henrich's 
takeover. Nearly opposite on the other side of the street is a town-owned tract 
of land that will, no doubt, be a playground. For many years, there was a store 
at the corner of Fuller and Wood Streets. This small neighborhood store is first 
noted on the 1879 map and, also, on the Assessor's listing. It seems to have 
closed around 1940. There seems to have always been a store in the Drew 
neighborhood. The first one was part of the early Drew Mill complex. Mr. George 
Drew was frequently in the picture of town politics. He was a successful bidder 
for the care of the town paupers, as we have mentioned, and he and his brother 
were publishers of a local paper. One of these two brothers had a position on 
the Prudential Committee of his district. He did not agree with the arbitrary 
exclusion from the school of those living outside the district's bounds. He was 
convinced that his children would have many more advantages at the school 
near the center of town. But, it appears that notwithstanding all of Mr. Drew's 
efforts, the Drew children stayed in their own district school. At the turn of the 
century, my mother visited "Gramma" Drew in the old home that was the 
original garrison house. The occasion for mother's visit was that it was Mrs. Drew's 
100th birthday and mother noted Mrs. Drew's alertness and congeniality. The 
house was dismantled in the early 1920's and used in part to restore a place in 
Duxbury. Mother retained the impression of low ceilings in the front hall and 
often spoke of the grandfather clock that graced a corner of the hallway at the 
entrance. 

A store built from Lysander Hay ward's resources was operated by his daughter 
Linda and her husband Russ Bonney. This store was almost exactly on the spot 



124 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



where the new Post Office now stands. Mr. Hayward, a Civil War veteran, was a 
hunter and a good friend of mine. After an early bout with rheumatic fever I 
needed special nutritional aid, so my parents arranged for me to eat lunch with 
the Haywards every noontime during the school year. This ate into the play 
portion of my noon hour and I'm not sure that the course was entirely remedial. 
The Haywards lived in a house opposite the Central School. There was a smoke- 
house in the rear of their open lot behind the barn. The smoke from this house 
aroused our curiosity and once we ventured near enough to see the operation at 
least from a distance, but we turned in squeamish haste from the horrid ob- 
noxious odors and willingly returned to school. 

Many years later Henry and Mabel Hammond took over a store on Plymouth 
Street and they lived in the quarters at the rear of the building. Hank's Garage 
is now located here. Grandpa Hammond lived with this family and he planted 
his garden on a small plot of my land across the street from the store. There 
never was a garden like it for being orderly and prosperous. I just kept quiet 
about to whom the garden efforts should be credited. Many compliments came 
my way on the garden project and Grandpa Hammond and his "masterpiece." 

The schoolhouse on Elm Street that moved so much down through the years 
was bought by Ed Vaughan at an auction and he sold it to a Mr. Rogers who 
converted it into a store. Later, it became the Fernandez Store, after which it 
became the home of Mrs. Fernandez. I started school in that building, I bought 
victuals there from Mr. Fernandez and I have a hunger to acquire the building 
and feast my mind on it. 




%.. 





Grover's Corner — about 1900. 




New Post Office — began service in 1976. 




{^W* 




Tomson Stone on Thompson Street (Route 105) marks the site of the 
log cabin which was the home of John Tomson, the first settler in Halifax. 



MILITARY 

There can be no question who earned the right to be called our first soldier. 
John Tomson lived among the Pilgrims at Plymouth working and exploring with 
the men of the young colony. They ventured into the heartland to learn the 
whereabouts of the native Indians and to stay alert to the moods of these newly- 
made acquaintances. For a period of forty-three years, which intervened from the 
landing of the Pilgrims to John Tomson's time, there was no violent breach of 
the peace that began when Samoset shouted greetings to the band of visitors at 
Plymouth. During Massasoit's control of the relationship between the two races 
all was peaceful. However, almost immediately upon his passing, the new 
leaders, Wamsutta, and then Philip, both assumed hostile attitudes toward the 
white men. It is interesting to note that before the outbreak of hostilities the 
new settlers had thought it wise to establish a fort at Nemasket, the Indian name 
for the present-day Middleboro. With the start of King Philip's War in 1675, it 
was decided by the people of Plymouth that the charge of the fort at Nemasket 
would prove beneficial if Halifax's first settler and soldier, John Tomson (Lt.), 
should be appointed its commander with sixteen men in his company. He had 
settled his family in Halifax and directly in Philip's path of destruction to 
Plymouth. When war came, he, his wife and children fled to Nemasket. On 
their way they could see reflections of their burning cabin in the dark skies, 
proving that the Indians had meant their threats. Also in their flight, 
they passed George Danson who lived on this same trail to the fort. Tomson 
advised Danson to follow quickly. He failed to appear at the fort, however, and 
the next morning a search party found his body lying in a brook. This is the 
small stream which passes under Thompson Street— now called Danson Brook. 

Shortly after the outbreak of King Philip's War, the fort at Nemasket was 
abandoned by Commander Tomson. He, his men and their families pulled back 
to Plymouth. In 1676 a battle took place between the Indians and white settlers 
in Halifax at Monponsett on the land between the lakes which we call White's 
Island. Some 120 Indians were captured in the engagement, marched to 
Plymouth and held until the war was over. The route they marched over was 
known as the Bridgewater Trail, first opened to overland travel in 1668 as noted 
on the Latham Map. 

Begun on June 21, 1675 the war was over by 1677. King Philip himself was 
shot on August 4, 1676 by another Indian, a subject of the Squal-Sachem Awash- 
onks— allies of the English. While Indians like Philip feared the growing strength 
and encroachment of the white man, Indians like his assassin felt that opposition 

127 



128 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

to the English was unrealistic. Bridgewater residents had many close calls with 
danger during the war, as did Scituate which was surrounded by enemy warriors. 
Much pillaging and burning took place here. All of the terrain between Nar- 
ragansett Bay and the Massachusetts Bay coastline was involved in the hostilities. 
Halifax lay smack in the middle of this "war arena." It's no wonder that both 
big and little boys still hunt out plowed fields scratching for old Indian 
arrowheads. 

A stone monument marks the place where Wamsutta, Philip's predecessor, 
was supposed to have been questioned on his stand with the English. He was 
asked to appear in Plymouth at a later date, says the bronze plaque, but this 
request had to be turned down because of his poor health. It is believed that he 
died en route home to Narragansett Bay, whereupon King Philip, his brother, 
succeeded as chieftain. One hostility which seemed to unite all whites against 
the Indians was the murder of the Indian Sassamon by agents of Philip. Sassa- 
mon had been a loyal disciple of John Elliott. The guilty Indians were eventually 
apprehended and hung. 

It was only a short time after the burning of the Tomson cabin that the large 
group of warrior Indians were captured on White's Island. In the battle. Captain 
Church lay siege to the island, bringing up his men from the north or from what 
we now know as the Monponsett Inn area. The water gap on that side was 
shallow enough to wade across and permit attack from that direction. The 
surprised Indians were driven out into the deep water near the area where the 
present bridge is located. Another contingent of soldiers, posted nearby, easily 
surrounded the entire force and marched them to Plymouth as prisoners. During 
this same war, 150 Indians were captured at Bridgewater and marched through 
Halifax to Plymouth. Halifax was certainly no "Happy Hunting Grounds" for 
the Indians. 

As a reminder of these historical events, a marker stands on Thompson Street 
near where John Tomson's cabin stood. The marker is mounted on the hearth- 
stone from the first frame house that was built to replace the destroyed cabin. 
This second building was torn down in 1838 by the Thompsons. I have bricks 
from this second house, appropriately marked. The present house has raised all 
the Thompson descendants to this time on a 6,000-acre tract of land originally 
owned by John Tomson and bought from Josiah Wampatuck. A record of this 
transaction can be found in the Registry of Deeds, Book 4. John Tomson had 
settlers as near as four miles away— to the southeast and to the west some seven 
miles. Nine generations of Thompsons have lived on this land including Mrs. 
William Crosby, youngest daughter of Jabez Thompson, now living in Milton, 
Massachusetts. 

From the end of King Philip's War to the official birth of Halifax, nearly 
two-thirds of a century passed, during which occurred the French and Indian 
Wars, including Queen Anne's, 1702; King William's, 1689-1697; King George's, 
1743-1748; and the "Old French and Indian War" of 1755-1763. Halifax men 
fought in some of these conflicts and the town's collection of memorabilia 
includes a powder horn carried by Simon Leach of Halifax. The issue was French 
vs. English supremacy. At most, France hoped to confine England to the narrow 
strip of land along the Atlantic seacoast. The Spanish explorations tended to 
keep to the southern part of the continent; the St. Lawrence River and Basin was 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



129 




' *' '* ■ MtmlmW , £tt-. 



Tomson Gun — used by John Thomson, Halifax's first citizen, who 
commanded the fort at Middleboro at the start of King Philip's War in 
1675. This firing piece is 7 feet, 4^2 inches long with a barrel of 6 feet, 
IVz inches. Its caliber, 12 balls to the pound; whole weight, 20 pounds, 
12 ounces. It is shown on display at the Bristol County Museum in 
Taunton. 




Wamsutta Stone on White's Island where Massasoit's oldest son, Wam- 
sutta, spent his last days before his death in 1662. 



130 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Pope's Tavern — opposite the Congregational Church on Plymouth 
Street. The site of many historic moments, it is now the home of Violet 
Brown. 



a favorite avenue for French traffic. They meant to travel along this waterway 
into the heart of the continent and down into the Mississippi Valley, encircling 
the English and impeding the further spread of their empire. In 1718 the French 
settled in at New Orleans. There was, of course, the ever-present threat of the 
Indian Confederation called the "Five Nations." Allies of the English, they were 
opposed by the Algonquins who fought with the French. This latter group 
operated mainly in the Northeast. 

There was always a sense of uneasiness with the Indians. In 1734, after 
Halifax was founded, the town voted constables for the eastern part of town 
and night watches for the western half. Except for the militant atmosphere that 
prevailed due to the conflicting interests of the rival European powers and the 
wooing of support from the Indians, there was little military action on the 
continent up to the Revolutionary War. Halifax settlers like all other Americans 
were determined to secure new lives as free men and women whether or not they 
had to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to do it. Halifax sent representatives to 
council meetings and contributed to plans for war and the establishment of a 
government afterwards. Almost to a man, Halifax citizens were uncompromising 
patriots to the cause of freedom. Just prior to the Revolution, a soldier by the 
name of Taylor deserted from an English Army company stationed in Marshfield. 
He fled to Halifax to the home of Thomas Drew. Three men from the British 
company were detailed to bring him back and decided to try a ruse on Drew. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



131 



One posed as a deserter, too, but Drew recognized the trick and told Taylor to 
hide in nearby woods. The other two men became exasperated that their game 
hadn't worked and went to Noah Thompson's home to protest. Thompson, sick 
in bed, heard their threats. He took his gun, leveled it at the soldiers and 
shouted, "You are dead men or leave my house." They left. News spread like 
wildfire and the English soldiers were confronted at the Meeting House by two 
Minutemen, Bradford and Bartlett. They had only recently become part of this 
local group anticipating trouble with the Mother Country. They ordered the 
British to stop and surrender. Their muskets were not loaded however, and 
noting this the British cocked their pistols and ordered the two Yankees to 
march to Daniel Dunbar's Tavern. Mr. Dunbar was a Tory. Within the hour the 
tavern was surrounded by angry Minutemen who asked that the patriots be 
released. The request was denied and they tried to break in to rescue Bradford 
and Bartlett. The British threatened to kill the prisoners. It was a standoff 
until Josiah Sturtevant, a justice of the peace, arrived. He ordered the two 
Minutemen bound over for court on the charge of breaking the law against 
harassing English Patrols on the King's Highway. To be sure, grievances were 
smoothed over this time, only to flare up again at Concord and Lexington. 

The monument that commemorates our role in the Revolutionary War stands 
opposite the Congregational Church. It was dedicated on June 17, 1911; 
featured speaker at the ceremony was ex-Governor Long. The monument was 
purchased from the Kavanaugh Bros, for $125. The bronze plaque fixed to the 




Revolutionary War Monument, erected and dedicated in 1911. 



132 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

stone came from Murdock Reed Co. for $190. Sylvanus Bourne was paid 
$26.45 for labor making a grand total of $342.25. The Halifax Grange con- 
tributed $10.00 and the Farmer's Club $10.00 to help defray expenses. All of 
the above was taken from the Town Report of 1911. 

First official record of the Revolutionary War was made in 1774 in Halifax 
when, on December 26, "It was voted that the minutemen drawn out for military 
exercise shall have their pay for two half days in a week at 8^ per half day." 
Next, on January 2, 1775: "Voted to choose a member to send to the Provincial 
Congress at Cambridge." Mr. Ebenezer Tomson was chosen our representative. 
On March 18, 1776, a Town Meeting chose a Committee of Correspondence, 
Inspection and Safety. Included on the committee were Benjamin Parris, Judah 
Wood, John Waterman, Samuel Stafford Sturtevant and Deacon Jacob Tomson. 
At Halifax on May 27, 1776, Ebenezer Tomson Esq. and Capt. John Waterman 
were sworn to take a census "to know the number of inhabitants of this colony." 
Presumably, the military quotas were determined by such a census. (The pop- 
ulation was found to be 672.) By the end of the war seventy-nine men had 
enlisted for military duty and the author has seen the acclaim that only eleven 
able-bodied men were left behind in the town at one time during the war. 

On June 7, 1776 Halifax citizens voted $150 to any man who would join the 
army for three years or to the end of the war. Men sometimes hired a substitute 
to take their place. It has been said that Seth Waterman, a Halifax native, was 
hired by eight men of this town at various times to serve for them in the war. 
Another Seth from our town, this time Seth Sturtevant, was one of George 
Washington's bodyguards in the war. He was born in Halifax on June 4, 1760. 
His mother was Joanna Sturtevant born in Halifax in 1736. Seth married Abigail 
Gushing of Duxbury and moved to Butterfield (now Sumner) on July 20, 1795. 
Halifax also contributed its quota of ammunition and on one occasion sent 
twenty blankets for use by General Washington's soldiers in their expedition to 
Canada. Noah Fuller was the first Halifax man killed in the Revolutionary War. 
He was killed by a bursting cannon in New York City. There are several entries 
in the Town Records referring to commissioned officers who were authorized to 
hire soldiers for the Continental Army for three years of duty and eight months; 
the said officers were privileged to hire money to meet their expenses. At this 
time, December 8, 1777, the Town voted: "To raise £2000 to pay what had been 
done in the war." Concern for safety and loyalty was common at this time. 
People were warned to exercise caution against monopoly and oppression. A 
list of the inhabitants of the town was accepted, at which time it was voted to 
accept John Standish, Obediah Eddy and Edward Stranger to the list. This listing 
was not unusual, but I suspect there was a close perusal and vigilance on the part 
of all. Price controls were invoked on basic commodities throughout the colony 
at this time as well. The community was well aware of the variances of services 
rendered by different men in the Town. Back in 1777 on March 17 at a town 
Meeting, "it was voted to choose a committee to set a value on what each man 
had done towards carrying out the War." It was also voted at this meeting to 
raise men for the war by rate. Also, and in the consideration of recompense for 
military service, it was passed at a Town Meeting of April 11, 1777 "to give 
every soldier that should enlist in the Continental Army a bounty of 10 Pounds." 
It was also voted at this time that "the fines that are paid into the town by 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



133 



Perez Ripley and Jessie Dunbar shall be drawn out toward paying the bounty to 
soldiers that shall enlist in the Army for 3 years." (These two men were cited 
for Tory loyalty.) A list of accepted and sympathetic citizens was acted upon 
and on January 9, 1777 it was voted "to add John Standish, Obediah Eddy, and 
Edward Stranger and to appoint Benjamin Parris to procure and lay before the 
court the evidence that may be had against Perez Ripley, Jesse Dunbar, John 
Standish, Obediah Eddy and Edward Stranger of their inimical dispositions 
toward this or any of the United States." Many distinguished services were 
rendered by Halifax men in the Revolutionary War. 

A List of Revolutionary War Veterans From Halifax 



Richard Bosworth 
Joseph Bosworth 
Eli Bosworth 
Samuel Briggs 
Samuel Churchill 
James Crooker 
Benjamin Parris 
Samuel Parris 
Jonah Parris 
Joshua Cushman 
Isaac Cushman (died) 
Jonathan Curtis 
Thomas Cushing (died) 
Ephraim Doten 
Elisha Faxon 
Allen Faxon 
Noah Fuller (died) 
Jabez Hatten 
George Harlow 
John C. Hammett 
Moses Inglee, Jr. 
John Jones 
Caleb Leach 
Josiah Thompson, Lt. 
Zebediah Thompson 
Moses Thompson 
Loring Thompson 
Thomas Thompson 
Levi Thompson 
Nathan Tinkham 



Joseph Torrey 
William Waterman 
Abiathar Wilson 
Jacob Loring 
Richard Joel 
Asa Lyon (died) 
Consider Pratt 
John Palmer 
Jonathan Porter 
Joseph Matthews 
Prince Edwards 
Isaac Sturtevant 
Seth Sturtevant 
Caleb Sturtevant 
Church Sturtevant 
Hosea Sturtevant 
Lemuel Sturtevant 
Samuel Sturtevant (died) 
Dick Sturtevant 
Barrichel Sturtevant 
David Sturtevant 
Isaac Sears 
Asa Shurtleff 
Zachariah Standish 
Joseph Tilson 
Seth Thompson 
Josiah Tinkham 
Seth Waterman 
Isaac Williams 
Judah Wood 



On April 9, 1779 the Town voted to "Accept Acts at Concord." At this same 
Town Meeting "eight persons as a committee to 'joyn' with the Committees of 
Correspondence" were chosen. Among the men chosen to act were: Thomas 
Drew, Freeman Waterman, Jr. and Benjamin Parris. Specifically, Ebenezer Tom- 
son was directed to go to Concord and Benjamin Parris to the County Convention 



134 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

to be held August 23, 1779. At the July 5, 1779 Town Meeting, it was "voted 
not to send a Committeeman to 'joyn' with the Committee of the other towns at 
Concord." Subsequent to this action and not hastily, I might add, on July 26th 
at Town Meeting, "Ebenezer Tomson was chosen to represent the town in the 
convention in Cambridge." This last Town Meeting was carried over to 
September 1st and the Town Meeting instructed the delegate to have a printed 
copy of the Constitution submitted to the Selectmen of each town. 

Military matters seemed to be finished and certainly the fiscal year of 1779 
was about ended when, on December 27, the citizens of the town voted "2,000 
pounds to pay the soldiers and other charges." The year's business was com- 
pleted on December 31. (Now, in 1976, we have to close our fiscal year on 
June 30.) 

Of course, by 1779, the war was not quite finalized and enlistment was still 
bothering the authorities. In July of 1780 a meeting was held to enlist eleven 
men. This meeting was not very productive and an adjournment was voted to 
"tomorrow when the sun is an hour high." They met as agreed and then 
adjourned to the next day at seven in the morning when they worked until 
four p.m. They then offered the men $12.50 (silver) or $75 (paper dollars) and a 
deal was made. On September 4, 1780, the Halifax townspeople "voted to 
empower the Selectmen to get wool and hire blankets made." Sheep furnished 
the wherewithal to meet exterior body needs but at this same time the voters 
appropriated $7940 to pay for "one-half of the beef sent from this town for the 
army." The outlay continued with a vote "to draw money from the Treasury to 
pay for the two horses that were bought for service in the Continental Army." 
With only a short respite, on November 13, the town voted to have "the 
Selectmen get three blankets and pay as much as 100 pounds Continental 
Currency." The plague of inflation had set in and, back as early as June 20, a 
vote was passed "To give to the nine men who were to go into the Continental 
Army for six months, in addition to their wages, five hundred dollars paper 
currency for the first month to be paid before they march and five pounds, ten 
shillings per month in silver money." They were to be paid for the remaining 
five months when they return. Seventeen days later, on July 3, at a special 
Town Meeting to deal with soldier's pay, it was voted to "Pay $1200 each to 
Jonathan Porter, Levi Tomson and George Harlow and 35 bushels of Indian corn 
and 5 bushels of rye for 3 months to each man." The committee voted to do 
this first, then dismissed the vote when a new committee brought in the sug- 
gestion of $25 (silver) per month to go to each man. (Money was compared at 
the rate of twenty-five silver dollars being equal to 150 paper dollars.) 

When the war did finally come to an end, the rather long period of organizing 
the federal government and then the state and local branches began. Halifax 
had been a governmental unit as a town since 1734. Now, as a part of the 
United States, and as a division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we 
actually began to function in 1791. The record that first shows town functions 
is in my possession and the first entry is dated 1792. 

The Halifax Militia Company was organized in 1792. The charter was signed 
by Governor John Hancock. This military group lasted for many years after 
fighting both the War of 1812 and the Civil War; it earned distinction for having 
the longest continuous record of a militia company in this state. This company 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 135 

responded to a call to duty in the War of 1812 under the command of Captain 
Asa Thompson, who was distinguished among other things for his height. It is 
recorded that he was six-feet-six-inches tall and he is purported to have equipped 
himself with sword and sidearms equal to his height. 

Unrest persisted during the years immediately following the Revolution. A 
state of readiness was maintained by our local militia. The War of 1812 was in 
the offing and the young nation knew that resting on its laurels was just wishful 
thinking. On August 7, 1809 there was a Town Meeting with Timothy Wood as 
moderator and it was voted, "to give to these men who are attached to the orders 
of the Government if ordered to march for their country, to each man attached 
to Capt. Cushman's Co. and the property of the men that belong to Halifax in 
the Light Infantry Co.— $20 per month for the time they shall be in the service 
of the United States." 

There are very few references in Town Records to Halifax men involved in 
engagements in the War of 1812. Asa Thompson and his company of militia 
were on duty and at ready for service along the coastline wherever threatening 
English naval forces were located. We know that the sieges of ports or harbors 
at Marion and Mattapoisett were carried out and that pillaging and destruction of 
wharfs and crafts took place. Our men were ready for the call to help. The 
"Tall Captain," Asa Thompson, led his men to aid as did each member town of 
the county. Two sailors from Halifax were taken prisoner off American boats 
and impressed into service by the English. These two men were prisoners for 
two years. No details of their experiences are recorded to my knowledge, but 
there is an account of their return home. One Sunday morning, when most of 
the community was assembled in church, a warning was passed to the parson 
that two persons had arrived at the entrance to the sanctuary and sought ad- 
mission. Doors were swung open and in walked the long lost men. Greetings 
over, the preacher turned to the appropriate excerpts from the "Good Book" 
and helped to make for a very happy reunion of lost sheep to his fold. I was 
informed of this incident by Lucy Harlow, a direct descendant of one of the two 
returned sailors. 

Seemingly, the horizon didn't clear very fast after the War of 1812 for we 
find that on September 8, 1817, it was voted "to build a powder house this fall." 
The international affairs kept the continent of Europe and its sister continent. 
North America, in great turbulence while the turmoil of the Revolution subsided. 
Napoleon's ceding of the Louisiana Territory to the United States made us a 
power of such magnitude that no force anywhere threatened our status. This 
acquisition did much for us in establishing our spot in the family of nations. The 
Monroe Doctrine, bargaining with Russia or resolving outbursts on the Mexican 
front were the only issues that required firmness and direct bargaining and, thus, 
we had become a factor in the world. 

There were incidents during the outbreak of the Civil War that may be of 
enough interest to warrant their inclusion in the reporting of this significant part 
of American history. Daniel Webster, perhaps more than any other person in 
America, tried to resolve the question of slavery by compromise and peaceful 
resolve. A great statesman, Webster tried to convince men to slow down and 
work on the problem by taking short steps, short of war, and to legislate 
programs that would eventually throw off the yoke of slavery. He was a frequent 



136 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

visitor to our Pope's Tavern when he was away from his duties in Washington. 
(Back as early as 1830, we find a newspaper account of the RepubUcan Con- 
vention of this district nominating Ex-President John Quincy Adams to the 
22nd Congress at a district meeting held in Halifax in this same Pope's Tavern.) 
The wrong could no longer be tolerated, however, and a frightful state of 
division came to pass when Lincoln finally fired the torch that began the 
fratricide of our nation. 

Feelings seem to have been such that preparations for action were the order 
of the times. In 1853, "Eliah Poole was paid $10 for providing a place to store 
arms and military equipment." Also, the records show at this time "A list of all 
members of the Halifax Light Infantry Co." It was also voted on December 27, 
1853, in a resolve by Charles H. Paine, to have it entered on the Town Records 
"Not to accept Nebraska and Kansas into the Union." This and similar actions 
by others seemed to portend disfavor for compromise. 

The first official act directed at the promotion of military involvement in the 
war was the following: "May 7, 1861, voted that the credit of the town 
is hereby pledged to those belonging to this town and also to those who may 
hereafter either volunteer or be drafted from the town, to fight in the defense 
of our government, in a sum sufficient, taken in conjunction with the pay received 
from the government, either State or National, to make the sum total of 20 
dollars per month for the time they are actually engaged in such military duty, 
and in the case of their decease, the same extra pay is to be paid to their heirs." 
This motion was made by Captain George Drew. 

It is interesting to recall that back in a Town Meeting of August 7, 1809, with 
Timothy Wood as moderator, it was voted to "give these men that are attached 
to the orders of government, if they are ordered to march for the service of the 
government, to each man attached to Capt. Cushman's Company and the prop- 
erty of the men that belong to Halifax Light Infantry Co. shall have $20 per 
month for the time they shall be in the service of the U. S." It seems as if $20 
per month was the going wage for pay in the Army for a long time. 

During this same period, before the outbreak of the war, there were other 
incidents that attract our attention. The mention made of Daniel Webster is 
certainly in this category, but how much of the whole theme of the Civil War 
seems to have in retrospect hinged on the attitudes and actions of the times 
leading up to the terrible climax— the war. Thus, when one happens upon an 
item connecting distinguished persons or happenings with a certain period of our 
history, it holds special significance for us. A case in point: Frances Humphrey 
(Sturtevant) in her novel. Parks Tavern, which places Halifax as its setting, writes 
of the patrons of the Tavern. She was well acquainted with Daniel Webster and 
makes an interesting account of going to Marshfield for salt hay from the 
marshes and, while there, visiting with the distinguished statesman. Another 
interesting story of this era deals with the "Grasshopper Cannon" of the 1860's. 
This military piece may not have played a big role in a military sense but its 
name infers what it really was. It was supposedly cast in the foundry on Furnace 
Street in Halifax. Lyonville people originally owned it— that is, those people 
living in Halifax near the Blacksmith Shop or around the corner of Old Plymouth 
and Circuit Streets. Each year, this cannon was hauled along by young fellows 
as one of the attractions in the Fourth of July "Horribles" Parade. Compared to 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 137 

the usual noisemakers, its explosive blast must have contributed a horrible 
detonation. Therefore, its possession was much envied. It is said that its capture 
by one group from another could furnish script for numerous episodes in the art 
of detection. At one time, it was almost lost for all time. In fact, for some 
twelve years it was missing and much talked about. The nearest authoritative 
evidence to reach my ears as to its whereabouts came from James T. Thomas, 
Librarian of our Holmes Public Library for forty-five years, first Superintendent 
of our Public Schools, and an ordained minister here in our church. He 
grew up in Halifax and was only a small fry when the firing piece was 
hidden. Mr. Thomas would say, "It is laying in the bottom of Stump 
Pond." He lived on the shore of Stump Pond across from Tinkham's Rock. And 
all he would say after the endless inquiries about the Grasshopper Cannon is, 
"Go search around Tinkham's Rock." Some one hundred years ago another 
fellow used this same rock in a trade he carried on. He sold moonshine and after 
filling and corking his jugs with the commodity would suspend them by rope 
through the handles to an axle that was placed on two wheels below the surface. 
He had only to roll the whole deal into the water and, providing the water was 
deep enough, it would cover the entire illicit contraption nicely. In any case, 
neither the Grasshopper Cannon or the moonshine has ever been recovered by 
anyone I know. 

By 1861, Halifax and the surrounding communities were fast becoming 
belligerently disposed to the issue of slavery. Meetings were held and the 
discourse was largely anti-slavery. Clubs were organized to promote action or 
peaceably resolve the cancerous condition that could no longer be tolerated. 
The die was finally cast and we began our cleansing of an intolerable situation- 
slavery. Our militia marched at the very outset of the Civil War with Captain 
Charles Lyon and Lieutenant Nathaniel Morton who were assigned the task of 
recruiting for the Halifax Militia or Company C 5th Regiment, Massachusetts 
Militia. Perhaps a little background on their involvement would be helpful here. 
The Regimental Commander of the 5th was Colonel David W. Wardrop of New 
Bedford. He commanded the most widely spread regiment in the state. On 
April 15, 1861, the 5th was called, along with the 4th, 6th and 8th regiments. 
Company C of Halifax was issued orders at 2 a.m. and the Plymouth company 
at 3 a.m. On April 16th the Cambridge Co. was assigned to the 3rd Regiment 
and, later, on May 9th Companies D, E, I, M were also assigned to the 3rd 
Regiment. The 5th sailed from Boston on the 17th of April under sealed orders 
from Central Wharf. When they were nine miles out to sea the orders were read 
instructing them to sail for Fort Monroe in Virginia. Once there, they were 
immediately embarked on the gunboat Pawnee and sailed to Gosport Navy Yard 
to destroy the drydock, construction houses, yards, buildings and all vessels and 
ammunition. Once the mission was completed, the Pawnee sailed back to fortress 
Monroe where they arrived on the morning of April 21. So, in actuality, the 5th 
Regiment was the first Northern Voluntary Unit to land "aggressively on South- 
ern soil." Company C under the command of Captain Chamberlain with 
"drawn bayonets and loaded muskets suppressed insubordination in the Naval 
Brigade." The regiment next occupied Hampton where Companies A, B, and C 
were the main guard. The regiment returned on July 19 and was mustered out 
on the Common amid great cheering. 



138 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

I have a picture of the recruiting poster that was used to solicit support for 
Company C and I knew in my youth as many as ten men who took part in this 
terrible war. Therefore, when it comes to my chronicling of the Rebellion, I 
feel I have had a unique point of view, inasmuch as I have the recollections of 
some of these men reaching into the actual intimacies of the Civil War. My 
early interest came from association with these veterans, some of whom were 
relatives of mine and then were neighbors and fellow townspeople. For the first 
twenty years of my life I lived next door to Captain Charles Lyon of the Halifax 
Light Infantry Company which responded to Governor Allen's call to travel 
South to put down the Rebellion. I may have even learned to tell time from the 
very clock that stood on the mantle in Captain Lyon's kitchen (which now sets 
on a mantle in my brother's home) and which was used by Captain Lyon to set 
his schedule of departure at 2 a.m. on that morning in April. I remember one 
incident involving Captain Lyon when I was a child. As a close neighbor, he 
would be in and out of our home two or three times a day. A neighboring friend, 
who owned a .22 rifle, and his friends were testing their marksmanship at the 
blacksmith shop one day, under the watchful care of my father. The firing pit 
was in the neighborhood of the anvil, near the forge. Father undoubtedly 
challenged the youngsters to shoot from the shop a small china doll perched in 
the belly rail of the ox frame located nearby in an ell off the shop. Everyone 
took their turn at the doll and blasted away at the target with no luck at all. 
Then Captain Lyon appeared at the shop door to watch. With a little coaxing 
and not a very long aim he let go a blast that shattered the china doll dead center. 
One thing was certainly not in order then, and that was the query, "Mr. Lyon, 
were you a sharpshooter?" 

In any case, the Halifax Company C, 5th Regiment did respond to President 
Lincoln's call and assembled on Boston Common on the morning of April 16, 
1861. Governor Andrews made the appropriate favorable remarks and the 
company shipped out next day to Fort Monroe to begin its distinguished part in 
the War of the Rebellion. My grandmother, then a girl of about eight years, 
recalled the scene many times, remembering the parting of husbands and wives, 
the separation of fathers and children, the farewells of brothers and sisters and 
in some instances the parting of sweethearts. My grandfather, a teenager, acted 
as messenger to bring news from the front that he gathered in town and reported 
to his neighbors. Grandfather would tell me of meeting the postal delivery man 
and taking the periodical left for the people to read, reporting on the fearful 
news of injury or death. Grandfather could read and he helped to unroll 
messages bound up in bundles, with tension and strain building in everyone until 
they heard "no news" which was "good news" to them. Casualties were the first 
concern and the classification of "wounded" or "killed" was awaited with breath- 
less anticipation. My grandmother's family participated to the extent that five of 
her uncles were involved and one of the five died in Libby Prison. Uncle Dan 
Blake, an uncle through marriage, would tell me of incidents in his life in the 
army and, if I persisted and worked on him in indirect ways by helping to 
gather hay or by lending a hand picking potatoes, he would usually tell me how 
it "really was in the war." Occasionally in the quiet of his home I would ask him 
to just let me see where the bullet severed a segment of his tongue. I remember 
his story: He had crawled across the edge of the battlefield to lie prone at the 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



139 




Captain Charles Lyon's Clock. Owned by Captain Lyon, Company C, 
5th Regiment of Halifax Militia, it struck the departure hour, 2 a.m. on 
the morning of April 16, 1861 when Captain Lyon met with other 
members of the Halifax Militia at the East Bridgewater Railway Station 
to entrain for service in the Civil War. 



140 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

little bubbling spring to quench his thirst and upon raising his head slightly to 
permit swallowing, his tongue was blown away by the bullet of a sharpshooter. 
No climax was ever necessary to this story for all would be ended when Uncle 
Dan displayed that fragmented tongue. Uncle Dan was the truant officer in my 
early school days and I enjoy repeating an entry he made which read, "I submit 
my attendance report. There were no truancies. Signed, Daniel Blake, Atten- 
dance Officer." His wife was Aunt Margaret to me and reportedly a spiritualist. 
I know that her donuts and pies were real enough, though. During the war she 
closed their farm on Pine Street and moved in with her folks, the Donnelly's on 
Circuit Street. The house was located where the road now turns into Ceasar's 
Auto Parts. 

Among the memorabilia that have fallen into my hands through the years are 
the discharge papers, letters and implements of wars: guns, pistols and uniforms 
of many citizens who fought in the Civil War. Because of the portion of time 
that my life-span has covered, it has been possible for me to have had direct 
personal association with the principals involved in this great conflict. Aware of 
the difficulty of getting a degree of realism into the accounts of the past, I have 
tried to bring to my own narrative some personally heard events. I did chores 
and projects with another neighbor, Mr. Bishop, also a veteran of the Civil War. 
Around the Fourth of July, farmers "Get in their hay." The process consists of 
cutting the hay, making the hay and then bunching or stacking it. Later it had 
to be broken out again to dry. Mr. Bishop mowed his hay with a horse-drawn 
machine. I was introduced to the process as a specialist. I would sit aboard the 
rake and pilot the horse to roll the hay beneath the rake. I did a fairly good job 
of rolling the hay into neat rolls and would be impatient to get the hay "in" 
once the raking was done. Once the load of hay was built on the wagon we 
would haul it to the barn and stow it for use in the coming non-growing period. 
I may have been seven or eight years old at the time and thought myself very 
grownup. Mr. Bishop would order me up on the wagon to catch the huge 
forkfuls he would toss up from the field. Once I became overanxious and leaned 
out too far over the pile to catch another pitchfork load and caught the fork in 
my leg. The injury wasn't too serious but a doctor's attention was required and 
my haying days were terminated for a time. My partner, Mr. Bishop, kept close 
track of my condition. I became the casualty, he my comrade. I was nearer 
seven and he was nearer seventy! 

Mr. Charles Whitney is one of the Civil War veterans whose discharge papers 
I own. Mr. Whitney did shoe repairing and lived in the house which I know best 
as the Gfroerer Place on Plymouth Street. I don't recall Mr. Whitney's service to 
me in the footwear line but he did take care of another need of mine— my bike 
repairs. He had a highwheel bicycle and let me ride it enough times so that I 
remember the unique privilege. Mr. Cephus Washburn, another veteran, lived 
fairly close by also. I have his papers as well. He resided on Pond Street in the 
last house short of the East Bridgewater line. I mark the time when all these 
historical papers will be placed safely in the archives being readied by the Halifax 
Historical Society. 

We, the younger portion of the populace, enjoyed the men of the Grand 
Army when they would appear at school to celebrate Memorial Day and take 
their places as honorary guests, and we would always try to get a first hand 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 141 

report of a real battle. To ride with, work with, just to look at these heroes and 
to hang onto their every word was one of the greatest treats of my youth and 
I'm more and more convinced that they were the best days of my life. Each 
Grand Army veteran held a special importance in the eyes of young and old and 
I have always felt that the people who follow this legion of patriots who tramped 
the swamps of Vicksburg, faced the inferno at Gettysburg and bled and died, 
revered them for their terrible years of service. Each year at Memorial Day 
services, the ranks grew thinner and the scroll we read grew longer until today 
there are none left to hear the bugle call. Taps have been sounded for the last of 
these brave soldiers. Ninety-six men from this small hamlet took up arms to save 
the Republic and the number who gave their lives reached the heavy toll of 
twenty-four, one-fourth of the total contingent. 

Our Civil War Monument was the first erected in the state of Massachusetts. 
Standing on the lot opposite the Congregational Church, it was erected in 1867 
and cost $1000. In 1867, the Middle b or o Gazette said: 

"The Soldier's Monument was finished by the Quincy Granite Co. The 
Base is four feet square, the second section three feet square, and the shaft 
is 28 inches at the base and 16 inches at the top, with a total height of 
20 feet. On a raised shield are the words, 'Our Patriot Soldiers,' and the 
date 1867, to show when erected. On one side is a bronze plate, with the 
names, ages, dates, etc. of the twenty-four men lost from this town. It 
cost $1000 and is erected on the town square in front of the Congre- 
gational Church." 

Aroline Soule led the movement to establish this monument paying tribute 
to our fallen sons. Her son, Charles W. Soule, died at Newberne, North Carolina 
in December, 1862, after being mustered into service on September 23, 1862 at 
the age of eighteen. He belonged to Company A, 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts 
Volunteer Militia. His father was John M. Soule of Halifax. His mother was 
Caroline Pratt of Bridgewater before marriage. She married John Soule on June 
23, 1842 and gave birth to Charles on November 24, 1844. The names of the 
men chiseled into the granite stone alongside that of Charles Soule gave their 
lives to the cause of liberty or returned home to give their energies or influence 
to rebuild America. May such structures as our monuments help to keep before 
us the debt we owe to all those who have labored before us to keep going straight 
forward and upward in our goals. The names on the Civil War Monument are as 
follows: 

Charles B. Lyon Harrison D. Packard 

Nathaniel Morton William N. Bourne 

Sylvanus Bourne Henry M. Porter 

Isaac Poole Lysander W. Hayward 

Josiah E. Sears Martin L. Holmes 

Thomas F. Harlow Horace F. Packard 

John T. Thompson Charles T. Whitney 

Sebediah Thompson William S. Daby 

Jacob P. Thompson William S. Bosworth 

Stephen P. Lull George W. Hayward 



142 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



Daniel P. Blake 
Charles S. Bosworth 
Seldon Pratt 
William T. Marston 
Isaac E. Raymond 
Oliver E. Bryant 
Herbert P. Bosworth 
Horatio W. Cornish 
George Drew 3rd 
Nathaniel B. Bishop 
Edward Bishop 
Zephaniah E. P. Britton 
Lewis T. Wade 
Joseph T. Bourne 
James A. Lyon 
Luther W. Hayward 
Abel T. Bryant 
William A. Lyon 
Francis E. Bryant 
Oliver C. Porter 
Eugene Mitchell 
Cyrus Thompson 
Charles W. Soule 
Joseph S. W. Richmond 
Edward A. Richmond 
James T. Fuller 
William H. Fuller 
Frederick Fuller 
Joseph L. Melton 
Lorenzo Tower 
Marston E. Morse 
John H. Wood 
Zadock Thompson, Jr. 
Horace W. Poole 
L. Mendell Thompson 
John Merrigan 



Caphas Washburn 
George P. Mitchell 
Cyrus Willis 
Nathan D. Sturtevant 
Martin Osborne 
Cyrus Wood 
Lewis A. Cobb 
Morton Thompson 
Asaph P. Thompson 
Soranus Thompson 
Henry M. Holmes 
Elbridge P. Bonney 
Sylvanus Thomas 
John T. Sturtevant 
William A. Perkins 
Richard H. Fuller 
George H. Bourne 
Philip Gallager 
Ruel T. Alden 
Lewis B. Hayward 
Merritt R. Godfrey 
Benjamin H. Thomas 
Simeon A. Bump 
Henry Sampson 
Zenas Shaw 
Kinsley Hayward, Jr. 
Henry Jones 
Heroulas Dean 
Gibson Beal 
Jackson Davey 
Perly Haven 
Francis Morgan 
William Braden 
Henry Cooley 
Joseph Ankemins 
William J ager 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



143 








First Civil War Monument erected in the State of Massachusetts, it was 
dedicated in 1867. 



144 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

The war that began in August, 1914, with the assassination of Archduke 
Ferdinand of Austria, quickly involved nearly every European country and, in 
1917, the United States became involved. No such allying of different powers 
had ever taken place in the history of mankind. The grouping quickly became 
known as World War I. The war was fought in long battleline trenches with a 
terrible toll of gas casualties. The Honor Roll of Halifax Veterans hung in the 
auditorium of the Town Hall for many years. The alterations that took place 
to provide more office space in 1960 left no place for such "minor" items as 
Honor Rolls. They wound up on closet shelves or high resting places. I came 
upon the World War I Honor Roll and have resolved to preserve it and hold it in 
custody until a suitable place of display is settled on. It may be that I feel more 
sensitive about this plaque because it carries the names of fellow soldiers. And it 
may be that the intimacy of my association with these Halifax citizens who 
served in the declared cause "To make the world safe for Democracy" makes me 
enthusiastically concerned and alarmed over the attitudes of some present-day 
citizens for veterans. At this writing there are still two men living who are on the 
list and the number dwindles every year. Since the Revolutionary and Civil Wars 
have their special monuments and the conflicts since these two military events 
have not been noted by markers, it was decided to place a monument in the 
nature of a boulder on the Town Hall grounds to honor all those who served in 
the military. The Grange sponsored this project and marked the boulder with 
this simple inscription: "To Those Who Served." Those who served in World 
War I and returned were given a grand reception by the Halifax townspeople. 
The list of veterans of World War I follows: 

George White British Army Edward H. Peterson U.S. Army 

Frank Purpura U. S. Army Netta May Steves U. S. Army 

Elvin L. Wood U.S. Army Ceasar Gentile U.S. Army 

Edwin A. Hayward U.S. Army Earle Snell Wood Navy 

Albert D. Wood U.S. Army Arthur B. Waterman U.S. Army 

Leon Garvin U.S. Army George W. Estes U.S. Army 

Allen Leach Navy Albert A. Thomas Navy 

Frank Ellis Harlow Navy Perley Stowell Warren U.S. Army 

Guy S. Baker U.S. Army 

Clyde Otis Bosworth Student and Army Training Corps 
Sylvanus Francis Bourne Student and Army Training Corps 

A period of twenty-three years elapsed between the horrors of World War I 
and the beginning of World War II. Ironically, it includes the liveliest national 
program of American activities in history. The 20th century came in with the 
doors swinging wide open. The invention of the airplane, the rise of the auto age, 
opening the new gates to the far Pacific through the Panama Canal, the utilization 
of electricity— What an age! But, almost like an offstage rumble came the clouds 
of war once again and only twenty and three years after the first holocaust came 
the conflict that was to make World War I a mild affair in comparison. 

In entering World War I, our nation faced the call to make the world "safe 
for Democracy." Three and one-half million Americans took up arms and the 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



145 



entire nation poised itself to take a stand for the cause of freedom. Gold Star 
mothers became newly respected citizens. Disabled veterans became conspicu- 
ous among our population and gas war victims brought a new dimension to the 
kinds of horrors soldiers had to endure. But World War I was only a warmup for 
the more horrible and far more tragic World War II. The atomic bomb brought 
into the nomenclature of war a near ultimate in destructive forces. America used 
it. And yet, no other nation did more to heal the ghastly wounds of war when 
peace came than did America. Needless to say, there were many casualties from 
Halifax in World War II and the following list includes those who gave their lives, 
as well as those who returned home safe after giving their services in all branches 
of the Military: 

Halifax Roll of Honor - World War II 



Beatrice M. Angus 
Hubert A. Angus, Jr. 
Robert S. Armstrong 
John P. Aubert 
Henry G. Bailey, Jr. 
R. William Baker 
Walter E. Baker 
Edgar Barie 
Samuel Battles 
Richard Bell 
Alexander A. Bennett 
Robert Bennett 
Clyde O. Bosworth, Jr. 
Daniel O. Bosworth 
Henry M. Bosworth 
Lester I. Braddock 
Albert F. Brown 
Ernst L. Brown 
Raymond N. Brown 
Karl L. Burgess 
George A. Caperello 
Thomas S. Casserly 
Benjamin Cianfarani 
Nemus Cianfarani 
Clayton M. Coggon 
Elwyn M. Coggon 
James A. Crosby 
Robert W. Crosby 
Joseph P. Deming 
Arthur R. Doyle 
Donald J. Dunbar 
John S. Dunbar 
George A. Estes 



Donald I. Holzworth 
Robert F. Holzworth 
Elinor A. Hunt 
Francis X. Katzenberger 
Albert E. Kiernan 
Warren E. Kiernan 
David H. King 
Walter A. Kostecki 
Leonard E. Krappe 
Frederick W. Krappe 
Henry F. Kunkel, Jr. 
William H. Leach, Jr. 
Clement A. LeClair 
Victor A. LeClair 
Mahlon F. Leonard 
Robert L. Levesque 
Alfred G. Lunn, Jr. 
Richard W. MacLaughlin 
Warren A. MacLaughlin 
George B. McLean 
Verne O. Mattson 
Abraham H. Michaud 
Louis Michaud 
Walter E. Minor 
William G. Moffat 
Robert Nicked 
Bernard J. Owens 
Edward H. Peterson 
Exore P. Plausse 
Ashton H. Poole 
Frank D. Purpura 
Frank C. Radford 
Merton C. Randall 



146 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



Stanley G. Estes 
Frederick D. Fahrenheit 
John F. Ferry 
James W. Fox 
Cesare Gentile, Jr. 
Albert S. Grover 
John T. Grover 
Reginald H. Grover 
Robert L. Grover 
Kenneth W. Hall 
George N. Harlow 
June D. Harris 
Allen C. Hay ward 
Edwin M. Hayward 
Arnold A. Heinonen 
Walter E. Hilson 
Alfred C. Hinchey 
George E. Hoffman 
*John A. Holmes 
Kenneth V. Holmes 
Richard D. Holmes 



Stanley G. Reed 
John L. Renshaw 
Thomas C. Richardson 
Benjamin J. Rymut 
Maurice W. Schindler 
Clyde B. Stevens 
William J. Sturtevant 
Wilbur B. Tarr 
Antone C. Thomas 
Arthur Thomas 
Edward Thomas 
George M. Thomas 
Lino V. Tosoni 
Elmer W. Waterman 
Clifford W. Waterman 
Ray B. Waterman 
Edward J. Wladkowski 
Josephine L. Wladkowski 
Myron G. Wood, Jr. 
Russell E. Wood 
Robert Woodbury 





World War II Monument dedicated in 1945 with the inscription: 
'Honoring Those Who Served." 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



147 







m>^^>.^ 



Monument Grounds, opposite Congregational Church on Plymouth 
Street, includes Revolutionary War Monument and Civil War Monument. 







• .■ -'. Ur »«<■ 



















'*.f , 







|]^ 















4^ 



'- >. 



"The 12 Mile Stone" marks the halfway point between Plymouth and 
Brockton. It is located east of Thompson Street on Route 106. 



WAYS 

Stone Weir marks the crossing on Snake River on the first Indian Trail 
through this region. This fording place is on the stream that runs through 
Halifax from Monponsett Pond to Robbins Pond. The Indian Trail crossing here 
allowed the traveler to come toward Hemlock Lane, turn toward the lakes and 
then skirt the shoreline to come along to what is now Lingan Street. This course 
followed Lingan Street until reaching the present Cross Street. Continuing south, 
one comes through the field and out near the present corner of Plymouth and 
Monponsett Streets. The trail then led easterly toward the old Plymouth Street 
cemetery opposite Richmond Park. At this point, the path ran between the 
present cemetery and the lakeshore. The present thoroughfare running east and 
west, that we know as 106, was first identified on a Latham Map as having been 
established in 1667. It was called the Bridgewater Trail. There is a stone marker 
within sight of my house with the cut numerals "12" and the letter "P". This 
certainly sets the distance to Plymouth as twelve miles and that is exactly 
correct. Brockton, in the other direction, is also just twelve miles from where 
the stone marker is located. This in a sense makes the east/west line bisecting 
the county and we are at the mid point. The other general axis, that of the 
north/south lay of the compass, goes roughly from Hull to Plymouth and we are 
just about half that stretch of distance. Conclusion? The "Heart of Plymouth 
County" is pinpointed at a place within sight of my residence, which is at the 
intersection of routes 105 and 106 in Halifax! 

Route 58 has come to be a trunk line in our net of highways. This is our 
basic north/south artery. There is also Thompson Street, which has the dis- 
tinction of a route number— 105. South Street, which used to be called Cherry 
Street, has come to be an important thoroughfare. In the last few years. Elm 
Street has built up remarkably fast, and with the posting of 105 from Marion to 
my driveway, we have a significant amount of traffic coming from Southeastern 
Massachusetts to destinations in the South Shore area. Much of this traffic goes 
across 106 and onto Elm Street, and to points northeast of us. 

The first layout of roads with restrictions and controls began very soon after 
the town was organized. The Bridgewater Trail was rather well defined and is 
named on the Latham Map that is found in the Latham Collection in the Registry 
of Deeds. On March 23, 1743, it was "voted that the Selectmen lay out an 
opening from the County Road in Halifax northward across the Herring Brook 
where the bridge now is and so to the house of Nathaniel Harden so as shall be 
most convenient for a way and least prejudicial to the owners of the land 

149 



150 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

provided the owners of the land will demand no pay for the land where said way 
is laid." This road ran to what is today the intersection of Elm and Hudson 
Streets. Following up this proposed and accepted plan, the following proposition 
was voted on July 4, 1743: "A vote was called to know whether the Town 
would build a new bridge over the Herring Brook River by David Cushman's and 
it passed in the negative." This bridge was to be near Benjamin Cianfarani's 
present home on Furnace Street where David Cushman once lived. 

On March 23, 1752 the Town "voted to confirm the Selectman's layout of 
the highway from the Middleborough Line near the home of Samuel Fuller unto 
the Meeting House." By today's reckoning, this road ran from about the corner 
of Wood and Fuller Streets to the church and Town Hall. 

There was a definite fording place on the Taunton River just below the 
present Childs Bridge on Cherry Street in the year 1746. I have a photostatic 
copy of this passageway across the river. As early as December 14, 1739, in a 
Town Meeting, James Sturtevant and Barnabas Tomson were directed to "go to 
discourse with the owners of the land in the north part of the town to know 
their minds whether they were willing there should be a road laid out across this 
land toward Abington." It will help, I think, to relate a story or two that seem 
the most pertinent to the development of town ways. 

On August 30, 1732, before the town even had a chance to settle down, 
"William Holmes came to Town Meeting desiring the town to build him a bridge 
over Monponsett Pond for himself and family. This structure was to be five feet 
broad and 160 feet long covered with an inch and a half planks, promising that 
if the town would build such a bridge, he would acquit the town from further 
charge about the bridge. The town therefore voted that the town will build such 
a bridge as before described upon the condition that said William Holmes will 
acquit the town as aforesaid." This just amounted to a promise, however, for it 
was not until 1857, some 115 years later, that this link in the road system was 
actually completed. The prior vote to accommodate Mr. Holmes was sub- 
sequently rescinded because it was not possible to obtain title to the land on the 
shore where the bridge was to have reached. The "Pond Road" battle was a long 
and bitter affair. Finally, in 1847 the County Commissioners ordered the road 
built. This same year the town voted to have "the Selectmen write to the County 
Commissioners and tell them why the "Pond Road" had not been built." Soon 
the bridge was built as directed by the County Commissioners. We find that in 
1857 the town votes "that the railings of the Pond Road be left with the 
Selectmen." Way back in 1834, the town was issued an "order to William 
Latham of $6.00 for attending as counsel before the County Commissioners on 
the Pond Road." Also in 1836 on May 7, there was another order "to William 
Young Esq. of $22.00 for attending as counsel before the County Commissioners 
3 times to oppose the Pond Road." On June 8, the same year, an order was 
issued to pay "Benjamin Ellis for attending as a witness $3.00 in connection 
with the bearing on Pond Road." 

River crossings were a problem all the time and, as early as 1743, a vote was 
called "to know when the town would bring a new bridge over the Herring 
River." This bridge site was known as the Hathaway bridge. In 1753, the town 
voted to rebuild the "Long Bridge." The crossing referred to here was actually 
the three bridges on Thompson Street at the crossing of the Winnetuxet River. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 151 

Again, in 1757 the town voted to petition the General Court for a lottery to 
rebuild these three bridges. I am not informed as to whether the request was 
granted nor if HaUfax may have set a precedent in meeting pubhc assessment by 
the lottery method. I do know that the records say the "Bridges get their first 
rails." Another interesting observation on this bridge: "A decree was passed 
that the road be an open road with no gates except on each side of the river 
between Deacon Thomson's and Judah Wood's." Speaking of bridges and fording 
places and such, there were also the watering turn-outs. In 1803, "voted that 
those who wanted a watering place may be permitted to open one; if they will 
make the brook good and will rail it and obligate themselves to keep said 
watering place clear so as not to raise the water in the ditch above a reasonable 
height." Late in 1875, it was voted "to instruct the Selectmen to make a 
watering place between the house of E. G. Morton and the schoolhouse # 1." 
This would be on the brook running between the present fire station and the 
elementary school or, as we know it, the outlet to Otto's Pond. As late as the 
early 1900's, I can remember the watering turnout on Thompson Street on 
Bartlett Brook about half way from the cemetery to Pine Street. Wherever the 
road crossed over a stream and if only a stream was a few inches wide under 
normal conditions, there was an opportunity to turn off the road, get out and 
allow the horse to drink the fine running, cold water. 

In 1736, just after the founding of Halifax, it was voted that a new road to 
Plympton be built. A qualifying act was added: "That a gate be at each end of 
the people's land." This is interesting to the extent that several people were 
landowners on this route and gates must have received considerable attention in 
making a trip from here to our "Mother Town," Plympton. And, if the gates 
were numerous, so too were the number of highway surveyors. In 1784, on 
January 21, the town voted "Two overseers of the bridges." These men were to 
"notify when work was needed doing and what teams will be wanting and to see 
that they do a good day's work." 

As late as 1799, the town voted to hire eight highway surveyors. But this did 
not come close to the record of all time, for in 1828 the town elected fourteen 
highway surveyors who were to oversee the fourteen districts. Also, at this same 
meeting, the town decreed by vote that gravel should be eight to ten inches in 
depth, having the road sufficiently crowned without disturbing the shoulders— 
"Believing the present system to be the most economical ever adopted and 
recommend that it be continued." The number of surveyors seem to have met 
the town's need until 1861 when there were still fourteen surveyors in the 
system. This same year it was voted to "Discontinue the road across from the 
front of Lysander Hay ward's to the west of Carver Street." Today this means 
that the road that cut through from Plymouth to Carver Street, just next to the 
present Central School, was closed. On this same road, where it intersected 
Plymouth Street, was the location of Martin Bosworth's Ordinary. This 
institution gained fame from its close association with the public affairs con- 
ducted at the Meeting House which was located up the street at a respectful 
distance on a higher plane than was the tap room. Mention is made on 
many occasions of settling the affairs of State or of the Church and then 
repairing to Martin Bosworth's Oasis. 

In 1875, it was voted to purchase a roadscraper on the Perkins Plan as 



152 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




..-^^v^ *^*^ 



Morton Place (now home of Guy S. Baker) on Plymouth Street opposite 
Thompson Street (Route 105). The fence in front is included in the 
national listing of historic sites. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 153 

recommended in a report by Martin Howland. This is the first reference to using 
any type of machinery for road work. Refinements came from all directions. 
For instance, in 1875, this note on the road from the Plymouth line read, "It 
was to be crowned l-V'2 feet in the center and all the upland part. The low part 
from the old Sturtevant place to the Nathan Soule place to be raised 1 foot 
above the general surface. 

"The best materials found within the limits of the location, to be reserved for 
a dressing so as to form a hard and durable surface over the whole extent of the 
road bed. Side and gutters and culverts are to be converted when necessary to 
carry off surface water." 

Plymouth Street was relocated in 1904 in front of the present-day Elementary 
School by being moved four to five rods to the north. Plans were in the works 
for our first macadam road in 1901 and a stretch of stone road was laid from the 
Plympton line to Holmes Street that same year. The town put up $500 and the 
State $300 for this road whose total length was one-half mile. Most of the 
crushed stone was brought in freight cars with a small amount gathered locally 
and crushed on the site. In 1912 the Town Assembly considered an article to 
install a cinder sidewalk from the Hanson line to the hotel. It was not passed, 
however, until 1961. One interesting observation is that in a Directory of 1910 
I find the way off Plymouth Street that we now call Hemlock Lane called, 
"Sturtevant Place." This area has held the spotlight recently since the new town 
bam was built there and the town dump on this same street has come to be an 
issue. 

In 1905 the Town appropriated $500 for a stretch of stone road that ran 
from about Holmes Street to Monponsett Street. Piece by piece it was filled in 
and by 1914 another stone road was formed between Furnace Street and 
Universalist Hill. This hill is on Plymouth Street where now Old Plymouth 
Street converges in front of Robert Baker's house. The Universalist Church 
stood here from 1825 to around 1893. My mother was present when the 
building was moved down the hill to the H. M. Bosworth Place, now the home of 
Frank Lane. This neighborhood is known to us older natives as Lyonville. 
Earlier, a cutoff was made when Carver Street was brought out to its terminus on 
Plymouth Street between Kitty's Restaurant and the William Rudolph residence. 
Before that time, Carver Street came from the westerly direction by Mrs. Alton 
Hollis' place, and turned at right angles to head as stated before to the Martin 
Bosworth's Ordinary— about where the Central School now stands. In the mid- 
1800s, Pine Street was cut through to allow Thompson Street traffic a through 
way to Plymouth Street without going all the way around to Morton's Comer. 
One must remember that most of the town's activities centered around the 
Furnace Street industrial complex in those years. Naturally there are new 
"places" and avenues and drives and courts reaching forth as the land is being 
fully usurped. Today, important development is taking place on the shores of 
Silver Lake. Planning is also under way to open an avenue through the land 
lying directly between the West Lake and the busy sector of the town center just 
south and east of the Town Hall. The elementary school, the police and fire 
stations, our town banks, and of course the King's Enterprise make up the 
shopping center in this area. King's Shopping Center opened May 10, 1956. 



154 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON NAMES OF STREETS 

Plymouth Street 
From Plympton line via Town house to Bridgewater line at Hathaway Hill. 

Monponsett Street 
From Plympton line via Palmer mill and between the ponds to Hanson line. 

Cherry Street 
From Town house via Shepard Thompson's to Fuller street near the house of 
the late John Fuller 

Thompson Street 
From house of Thoracis D. Morton via Jabez P. Thompson's to Middle- 
borough line. 

Pine Street 
From Plymouth street near W. H. Watson's to the Timmon's house. 

Carver Street 
From E. H. Vaughn's to Cherry street. 

Elm Street 
From Plymouth via Tilson's mill to Hanson line. 

Furnace Street 
From Elm street via Bosworth's mill to Plymouth street. 

Pond Street 
From William Tilson's to E. Bridgewater line near Cyrus Washburn's. 

Hudson Street 
From Pond street to Hatch's Corner at Hanson line. 

Holmes Street 
From Plymouth street via R. R. station to Pembroke line. 

Lake Street 
From Holmes Street via Railroad bridge to Oak street. 

Oak Street 
From Pembroke line near Charles Bishop's to Plympton line near Railroad 
bridge. 

Franklin Street 
From Cherry street near Mrs. Sprague's to Plympton line. 

Hayuiard Street 
From Franklin street to Cherry street. 

Cedar Street 
From the terminus of Cherry street via the house of the late Isaac P. Fuller to 
Middleborough line. 

Fuller Street 
From Cherry street, crossing Cedar street, to Middleborough line. 

Ash Street 
From Cherry street via Thompson and Porter Mills to Middleborough line. 

River Street 
From Ash street to Cedar street at junction with Cherry street. 

Bridge Street 
From Ash street to Thompson bridges. 

Walnut Street 
From Thompson bridges to Bridgewater line near the Wade house. 

Summit Street 
Frora Thompson street to Walnut street. 

Child Street 
From Walnut street to Child's bridge. 

Cross Street 
From Plymouth street over hill to Bridgewater line. 

Circuit Street 
From Plymouth street via Red House hill to Plymouth street. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 155 

The system of ways which our ancestors chose to repeatedly push through 
and smooth over, to level off and straighten out, is most fascinating to one who, 
as a young man, spent a good part of his time "working on the roads," and 
traveling back and forth, during each day and sometimes at night— I suspect. 

In 1896, two things happened that make an interesting duet for me personally. 
It was the year of my birth and the same year that the town described and 
adopted the names of its streets. An illustration of the page in the 1896 Town 
Report is included here for the purpose of authenticating the official names 
of the roads. The curious may check through this same report for mention 
of my birth. When the town clerk recorded my coming he gave me a 
sort of anonymous identity, listing me as a "male child." Legally I cannot place 
myself on the Town Records since my specific name was not recorded. My 
parents are named, however, in connection with this event which pretty much 
establishes me. As Town Historian, I come on many extenuating circumstances 
in searching records and problems are usually resolved by exercising due con- 
sideration of the facts. Such is the procedure necessary in this case, to agree on 
my official date of birth. 

The streets had their names listed in a State Directory of 1922. Among all 
the towns in the county, we in Halifax had the narrowest road layout. From 
this listing we find some roads were only eight feet wide— the narrowest listed. 

The water travel aspect of our historical "Ways" is perhaps the most 
fascinating. John Sturtevant stopped on the shores of Monponsett when he first 
came to Halifax. Whether he left again by land or water is not known. Perhaps 
he didn't leave at all. John Tomson built his home on a tributary that ran for a 
very short distance into the Winnetuxet River and it, in turn, emptied after a 
very short distance into the Great River or the Taunton River. The Indians used 
their trails and rivers to get about and presumably Mr. Tomson took advantage 
of them also. All Indian history is replete with the details of travel in birch 
canoes or "dug-outs." It's a foregone conclusion that the early white settlers 
paddled their canoes on the streams that cut routes through the forests when 
they wished to "Get places." Mr. Edmund Churchill, the friend who drew the 
sketch of the first church for me and a native of this town, related to me how 
his father made regular trips by water from their home to the store. He rowed 
from approximately where Route 58 touches the lakes and followed a course to 
the store which was all the way downstream, from the lakes to the corner of 
Furnace and Elm Streets. The operator of the store was Thomas Croade, an 
important figure in the organizing of our township in 1734. I have been over 
this route with my brother James and his wife Olive. In this crew of three, one 
of us became incapacitated because of a back condition, and so my sister-in-law 
and I navigated the course. We must have created a scene much like that when 
the ill Wamsutta was carried through here on his last voyage. 

Many things have happened along the Winnetuxet River, most of which have 
occurred inside the Plympton boundaries. My friend and fellow researcher of 
waterways and millsites, William McVicar, has followed the Winnetuxet down 
its full length, through Plympton and Halifax, and can identify many ruins and 
indications of industrial enterprises along its shores. Lumber mills, cooper shops, 
cranberry box factories, thread mills and foundries, boat yards, in addition to 



156 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Surveyors who surveyed for a canal, 1909-1910, "to go through 
Halifax." It never matured. 




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Halifax Center - 1905. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 157 

other uses of its stored up energy have turned wheels which made our part of 
the world go around for a good long time. In 1754, two Drew vessels were 
launched on this stream, which traveled on down to the sea via the Taunton 
River that empties into Narragansett Bay. We did, you see, get two craft out of 
our almost completely landlocked town in the "Center of Plymouth County." 

If we go back upstream and pursue the course of the river from the afore- 
mentioned Plympton, we come along to FuUertown. The pioneer of note in this 
area was Deacon Fuller. His farm was located on the shores of the Winnetuxet, 
bound on the west by the Middleborough Town line. A bit downstream. Raven 
Brook from the Great Cedar Swamp enters the Winnetuxet. Deacon Fuller had 
the idea of cutting a canal to eliminate a long sharp elbow in the Winnetuxet 
River and to back up a head of water at the confluence of the two water sources 
—the meeting place of the Winnetuxet and Raven Brook. There are traces of his 
canal where it crosses under the road at the Fuller place, quite near the inter- 
section of Fuller Street and Wood Street. The scheme failed to work and the 
idea was dropped but the schemer wasn't allowed to forget it quite as easily, for it 
had been forever after known as the "Deacon's Folly." Miles Standish is reported 
to have reviewed the possibility of cutting a canal across Southeastern Massa- 
chusetts to avoid the long and hazardous trip outside the Cape to get to Long 
Island Sound and points South. His son, in fact, went so far as to become 
involved in a land purchasing venture with this project's completion in mind. 
The first action involving this town in connection with this project was recorded 
at a Town Meeting in our town on May 25, 1795. 

This part of the waterway that was to be Halifax's share was begun just 
north of the present-day Halifax Beach Association reservation at the end of 11th 
Avenue. The course was to have cut through to where the brook crosses near 
the new fire station and to continue on through low swamp lands to cross 
South Street, a short distance south of the Carver and South Street Intersection. 
From here it was to have passed through the swamp to strike at the Tomson Mill 
Pond and then downstream to the Winnetuxet and then to the Taunton River. 
This link from the North River through a series of Ponds in Pembroke was the 
course to be followed to reach the Monponsett Ponds. The little work actucilly 
done was so insignificant that one tended to write the matter off as forgotten. 
This was not quite so, however. In 1909, a group of government engineers put 
through a survey to appraise the worthwhileness of this very plan. At the same 
time the route through Buzzards Bay was surveyed and this last course was 
ultimately the choice of what is today the Cape Cod Canal. 

In 1907, the A. C. Burrage Co. brought in a very powerful dredge to Stump 
Pond at a point above the narrow, off Elm Street, to dig a canal from that point 
on a direct line along the south side of the old pond bottom to the outlet of 
Monponsett Pond. Elton Brown of Hanson was engineer-fireman. The purpose 
was to take the winding channel out of the vast open level pond bottom and to 
aid in the draining of the pond with the idea of building a huge tract into a 
cranberry bog. The dredge came by railroad to South Hanson and was then 
brought to Halifax on a temporary track. It was operated on an ongoing 
track laid at the bottom of the canal as the cut developed. This ditch 
was about thirty feet wide and some fifteen feet deep. The excavation was made 



158 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



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Sincerely yours , 




"Lindy" once flew directly over Halifax. On the date of his epic trans- 
atlantic flight, the Halifax Grange called Paris with a congratulatory 
message. This was his reply. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 159 

for perhaps a half mile and then when about hedf completed the project was 
abandoned. No one seems to refer to this piece of unfinished business as 
"Someone's Folly," however. 

One more cut or channel was made in the early 1900s. This diversion is 
today the good-sized ditch under the road at a point just west of the intersection 
of Circuit and Plymouth Streets. It is used to turn water from Stump Pond that 
normally goes to Robbins Pond in East Bridgewater. This run-off allows water for 
use at the Cape Cod Cranberry Co. bogs that lay to the south of Laurel Street 
and extend to Pine Street. This run-off water is controlled by a series of 
reservoirs and makes for the efficient flooding of the bogs as needed. The cut 
was a major earth moving project since, at that time, Hathaway's Hill had not 
yet been altered in height by road cutting. The cut was so deep here that 
landslides resulted in two fatalities. 

Travel by land and by water has been the custom of our Halifax residents 
through the years. Travel through a mixture of these two elements was another 
thing, altogether. In the early days of my navigating the problem of mud was 
important, for in the spring there would be a "Mud Vacation from school." The 
roads were simply impassable. Through all my reading, however, I have not 
found a trace of complaint concerning the need to shut schools down for a 
"drying period." 

We are not directly located in an air corridor and so most flights over us are 
incidental. However, about 1910, a balloon came from the southwest and 
settled in our midst, just off Elm Street to the Robbins Pond side. This was 
my first view of man in flight. There have been several more connections 
with the industry of flight in our town. Mention has been made of Ernie 
Sturtevant and his work on an airplane that never got off the ground. In 
recent years the lakes have become a special mecca for sea planes. There are now 
several men and women living in Halifax who earn their living in the air industry. 
My own nephew, James Baker, is a pilot and flies such planes as the "727." I 
expect all of Halifax's populace must say that we belong to the "Air Age," ever 
since Charles Lindberg tlew over our heads on his trip to Paris in 1927. 

The recitation of these travel stories has been pleasant for me. The modes of 
travel have certainly changed and a large portion of the mental effort and muscles 
of our bodies and the gold from our purses has been expended to "get us there" 
quicker. One would like to say that we get there cheaper and more directly. 
Still, when one considers the time wasted with fog-bound airports and diverted 
flights, not to mention the excruciatingly slow pace that prevails on the South- 
east Expressway, modern travel isn't ideal. 

Travel along the varied ways of Halifax was, of course, limited in the 
beginning. Actually, travel from place to place was made primarily on foot 
over the rough paths first trod by the Indians. The clearing of fields and the 
establishing of farm areas brought the practice of raising animals that could be 
trained as beasts of burden: the oxen, dogs and, most choice of all, horses. 
These all came to be the chief suppliers of travel. The pioneers soon found that 
when faced with conditions of uneven terrain and insecure footing, the ox was 
easily the best choice for their needs. From the very early days up to the last 



160 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

quarter of the 19th century, the yoke of oxen on the New England farm was the 
number one possession. It was grzinted that the slow, quadruped of the genus. 
Bos, could be left behind in all contests of speed, but in almost all other 
evaluations, this short-legged, big-barreled, horned creature was number one. In 
recent times, horses have come to be the most prized farm animal. They are 
faster. I have seen horses hitched in front of a yoke of cattle on farm work and 
also on occasion on road hauling projects. This was not done with the ex- 
pectation of more power, but to speed up the work. For plowing, logging and 
other types of country work, the oxen held up their end of the deal remarkably 
well. With the refinement of highway surfaces and the subsequent hardening of 
the roads, the ox stepped aside for the more easily shod horse. The horse age, 
if you will, has lasted only half as long as the period when oxen were supreme. 
Automotive power has now come to the transportation needs for more and 
faster turning of the wheels and pulling the goods that industry thirsts insatiably 
for throughout the world. We are no longer a farm-oriented town, though it 
wasn't very long ago that every farm had all the tools of the trade, beasts of 
burden and sundry vehicles. 

Perhaps no other invention of man's ingenuity has more adaptability than the 
wheel. But first on the scene in the clearing and settling of the land was the drag. 
Obviously, there were no wheels on this vehicle and it was always a crude get-up 
since the inventor was usually the homesteader who fashioned native materials 
together to make this rough sled. He would use it to move out stumps and rocks 
from his home site and clear a spot for his growing field. Once his plot was free 
and his walls of protection begun, he could go to work refining the sled or 
wagon to make for "smoother sailing." Stone walls came as the first fences. 
However, Halifax, for some reason, has few outcroppings of stone and no large 
formations inside town limits. A few large fieldstones arranged in walls can be 
seen on the "island." Plympton, Bridgewater and points generally to the south- 
west and west are strewn with unattached stones and ledges which cover the 
ground off toward the "rock" and toward New Bedford on a circle sweeping 
through all the territory between here and Narragansett Bay. There are 
exceptions and my own stone wall is another story. The foundation stones in 
my home were quarried on the home site or at least nearby. They were hauled 
to this building site on stone drags from as far away as perhaps a half mile. 

Two-wheeled carts were a major step forward in two modes of transportation. 
Material for the carts was usually wood. It is one of my proud accomplishments 
that in the early years I can recall having worked on a wheelwright problem that 
involved repair to a wooden- axled wagon. The age of iron had come into full use 
by the time I was old enough to know of it, and a wooden axle and wooden hub 
soon became novelties. My friend, William Tillson, had a big farm rig made with 
wooden axles and hubs. He owned a big farm at the corner of Elm and Pond 
Streets and among his many interests was a steam sawmill. The equipment in 
the mill allowed the wooden wheels and axles to be serviced right there on the 
property. At any rate early in my career, I helped to set the tires on the wheels 
with wooden hubs that rode on wooden axles. 

Four-wheeled wagons soon came into popular use. Hay rigs with racks to hold 
the gatherings of hay from the fields were used. With the haying season, the 
four-wheeled wagon would be equipped with stakes spaced around the outer 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



161 




Timothy Wood house (now Randall home) on River Street. The gun 
slots, which are still discernible, afforded defense against Indian attack. 
This building is included in national listing of historic sites. 




Standish Place (now the home of Albert W. Williams) on Palmer Mill 
Road. One of the first permanent homes in town, it is now included in 
the national listing of historic sites. 



162 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

rails of the wagon body. When the pitched hay had covered the top of the 
stakes, the builder of the load would spread the subsequent forks of hay to 
permit the load to broaden out. Binding forks full of hay would be distributed 
so that the expanding load would hold together for hauling to the hungry 
haymows, to be stored and used to feed the livestock in the non-productive part 
of the year. One non-agrarian use of the haymow was that of a retreat for a boy 
who needed a snooze or just needed to get away from the turmoil that more 
ambitious minds could conjure up for him. My own collection of pitchforks 
and hayrakes are a precious part of my memorabilia. There are times when I 
watch the modern farmers doing their work with up-to-date machines, and I 
question the gain in expediting the job at the cost of more vigorous physical 
exertion and the subsequent fatigue and ensuing recuperation that the healthy 
body responds to with a good night's sleep. 

My horse-drawn wooden sled is well over a century old and makes me take 
flights like these into fancy to wonder how a ride in it behind a spirited dobbin 
would compare to a streak through the countryside on a modern snowmobile? 
Come springtime, the roads that stayed passable demanded the attention of the 
road-scraper to fill the ruts that inevitably formed from the melting snow. Road 
layouts were narrow, sometimes only as wide as eight to twelve feet. Tree 
growth would be close to the side of the roads, making for shade and a slow 
thaw in spring. At any rate, the ground eventually dried up and it was back to 
school— the end of "mud vacation." 

Two-wheelers were the carriages used first for getting over the bumpy roads. 
There were many styles of two-wheeled rigs, including the racing sulkey and the 
fancy hitch that sometimes had a back to back arrangement. 

The saw-horse buggy was the piece-de-resistance of my early days. This 
four-wheeler had a flexible spring construction that eliminated the sway factor 
which was sometimes conspicuous in less desirable makes of wagons. We also 
had a conveyance called a trap. It was a two-wheeler, too. The carry-all was the 
most commonplace of all conveyances of those early days. It was so common- 
place, in fact, that I don't remember much about it at all. I particularly 
remember the "democrat wagon." This species was a four-wheeled affair with a 
rectangular body. The sides and back were about eight inches high. A dasher in 
front and the hinged back panel were fixtures. Two portable seats in tandem 
were made to fit into the side panels of the body with a hooked finger-type 
projection that could be inserted into the holes on the tops of the side panels. 
There were two straight but short, projecting fingers that fell into place when 
the seat settled down on the top of the side rail. The democrat rates among the 
best conveyances that I have ever placed my body or confidence in. With both 
seats installed, and all aboard, a trip for the family to grandfather's house was an 
adventure. On the ride home after a long day of playing and feasting, father 
would permit us two boys to lie under the seats where we'd snooze all the way 
home. 

Accidents did happen in the horse and buggy days. A team or a pair of horses 
passing our home one summer's day came upon my brother who had wandered 
from the yard and deposited himself with sand pail in the middle of the road. 
The heavy log rig was not loaded. The driver sat on the right, his feet dangling 
and his horses heading home with almost no chance of meeting any obstacles. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



163 




Just about a quarter century ago in South Halifax. 




Coming through Plympton Green. In this 1941 picture, Morris Robbins 
is shown on his way to J. B. Baker's Blacksmith Shop to have his oxen 
shod. This was the last time the ox frame was used. 



164 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




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HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 165 

Suddenly a wheel went over a bump, and almost immediately, the horses 
stopped. The driver jumped down off the wagon to find baby Jim prostrate, his 
head directly in the rut that the rear wheel would next pass over. Jim was all 
right and the story ends happily. I remember another incident involving an 
accident where the wagon ran over a child and caused his death. Mrs. Alexander 
Pope was thrown from her carriage and suffered a broken arm. I helped Dr. Will 
Hunt when he attended my friend Bill Robinson, who fell from a wagon-load of 
hay and broke his hip. I, myself, suffered a severe wound when a pitchfork thrust 
up with a fork full of hay by my neighbor Mike Bishop hit my knee, as mentioned 
before. The scar has long since faded away. As much as one who lived in the 
days before the "gas buggies" might wish to shun the subject, still it can't be 
completely avoided, and so I confess that I have stashed away a hand-made 
wooden pung made by O. B. Perry some 130 years ago. I have odds and ends of 
wagons and harnesses and one complete carriage quite like a "democrat wagon." 
A hitching weight is one of my proud possessions. It is my choice doorstop. 

Through the years, horses have always been in big demand. The supply has 
never been sufficient to meet the call for work horses, driving horses, riding 
horses and now race horses. The reality of life is that things in demand bring 
"good" money. So horse thieves prospered. The villains have plied their trade 
in this area as well. Wagons were registered and rated according to the width of 
the tire on the wheel. The assumption was that the wider the tire the heavier the 
load and so the heavier the tax or levy to be used for road upkeep. If one didn't 
care to pay a tax he could ignore the roadways and equip his nag with "mud- 
boots" to cut through swamps and marshes. If he chose to use the roads, how- 
ever, he had to have a license. In the light of all the regulations and the length of 
time they have been controlling what people do, I feel extremely fortunate to 
have kept my auto license for sixty-three uninterrupted years. 

The first automobile to run on Halifax roads was owned by Dr. O. W. Charles 
of Bryantville. Actually he belonged to the entire countryside thereabouts, 
including the Town of Halifax. Perhaps it was providential that he was the first 
to have had an auto since he was out in all kinds of weather and at all times. He 
delivered me in mid-December, however, long before the advent of the "gas- 
wagon" and my father met his debt for the doctor's services by delivering a new 
sleigh to the doctor that winter. In his many years of straddling ruts and splashing 
through puddles, the doctor must have grown to- know the road to our house 
quite well. Perhaps his perfect record of always getting to his cases was due to 
his moderate pace and attention to business. It was not an easy matter to rile up 
his speed pattern. Once, mother was shocked to unconsciousness by a bolt of 
lightning that passed from the telephone on the wall to an iron stove some nine 
feet away. Because the bolt of lightning put the phone out of order I went to 
summon the doctor by automobile. By this time we had an auto and I drove it 
to get the doctor. I remember I approached a small group of men working in the 
middle of the road in the nieghborhood of Ocean Avenue and Monponsett 
Street. I left the road and made a wide berth around them for they were 
working near a telephone pole. Everyone involved testifies that my course 
around the group was a bit wider and faster than seemed necessary. I reached 



166 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 




Chauffeur Ernest Sturtevant is shown at his home on Hemlock Lane 
in one of the first automobiles in Halifax. He drove for L. Q. White, 
shoe manufacturer from Brockton. 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 167 

the doctor's office safely. The doctor thought better of my offer to drive him 
to mother's aid and he suggested that I follow him to our house. He started and 
I started and I got there first with "no harm done," but ever after hated 
thunderstorms. 

The next automobile that came to our town was the one driven by Ernie 
Sturtevant as chauffeur for L. Q. White. Homer Tillson also became a chauffeur 
at this time as did Ally Angus. They would occasionally drive their cars back to 
our town to permit short visits with the families of these young men. A choice 
picture in my collection is of Ernest sitting in his livery at the wheel of the 
motorcar. An illustration of the picture is included in this volume. Marcus Urann 
owned a Stanley Steamer. He could "put her around" the corner of Pine and 
Circuit Streets and cause a cascade of sand to rise higher and float farther out 
over the countryside than anything I've ever seen since. And so, the automobile 
began to make itself felt and heard in Halifax. 

It is the consensus of a large part of the informed world that the Indian has 
been on this continent 20,000 years. With his moccasin-covered feet he wore 
grooves called trails. In the last 400 years we have all but obliterated those trails 
with planted strips of cement or asphalt that, in comparison, make the Roman 
roads seem like cobble-stone streets. Trails went, and so roads may go. What 
next? 

Travel we have had and red men and white men have now put their feet down 
on almost every square inch of America. And, in participation in this ex- 
ploration, many of the world's creatures have come to leave footprints on 
Halifax's soil. A circus troop put through here about 1915 with its contingent 
of unusual four-leggers not germane to our country. Who would think that I 
would ride an elephant on Plymouth Street in Halifax? Oxen, yes; donkeys, yes; 
but an elephant? We also had the Chase Wild Animal Farm. Now there is 
snowmobiling or waterskiing, scooterbiking and snowskiing. Not all will be lost 
if we remain developed enough to push the peddle that feeds the juice into our 
gas machines that keep us in transit. The traffic is terrible, air is spoiled, water 
is polluted and all that's left is to burrow into a hillside with an air filter in 
charge at the entrance. Then, I suppose, one smart woodchuck hunter will try 
to "smoke us out" even as I have done to drive out the poor little creatures 
that taste like chicken meat when properly poached. 






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Map of Halifax, as it appeared in 1734. It is one of the oldest known 
maps of the town. 



MAPS 

The very nature of a map lends a degree of credence to the information taken 
from it if only for the fact that the effort in its making requires a degree of 
planning. In addition, some knowledge and interest is generally implied when 
such an activity is undertaken. It is, of course, reassuring if a trained individual 
such as a surveyor or, today, a civil engineer does the work. The local school 
teacher with his better than average knowledge of mathematics usually surveyed 
for the earlier maps. This same person almost always did the recording work at 
the Registry of Deeds for everyone else in the community. The Latham Bros, of 
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts were the principal surveyors of this area. Their 
map collection, which is kept in the Registry of Deeds, is the finest source of 
local information in existence concerning properties and sections of towns and 
other interests such as water rights, etc., that go back many years. I never fail to 
direct at least a small amount of attention to the collection every time I do get 
to the Registry. Sources of material such as this are limited. Neglect and 
indifference to the old, dilapidated-looking piles of papers— like those which 
usually come to light when old properties change hands— too often go to the 
dump. Things are changing, however, and searchers are looking more carefully 
for "finds." In the last dozen or so years there has been a steady, albeit thin, 
trickle of such materials (usually shedding some valuable light on our past) 
coming to me as Town Historian. 

The oldest map I have was drawn at the time of the setting off of Halifax 
from Plympton in 1734. This map has the Meeting House location in barely 
legible form. The key is done with the alphabet from A to G. It includes an 
outline of "Plimton" with the "Plimton Old Meeting House (F)" set at a definite 
location. The Halifax portion carries definite markings that can be recognized, 
such as our border on Silver Lake, our point of contact with the Great or 
Taunton River, etc. But, more especially, it places the "New Meeting House" at 
a distinct location on the map. I have studied this map and its indistinct key for 
hours and am so infatuated with it that I am including a patched-up illustration 
of it which may or may not be helpful. This 1733-34 map was drawn by Ebene- 
zer Byram, Surveyor. He did the surveying and the plotting at the request of the 
"Petitioners of the sundry inhabitants of the adjacent part of Plympton, Middle- 
borough and Pembroke petitioning for a township. Jan. 7, 1734." In genereJ, 
the map shows the ultimate bounds of our town. 

My 1832 map of the town was surveyed and plotted by Samuel Thompson. 
He was the regular schoolmaster of the town and, as stated, did the necessary 

169 



172 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

surveying for his neighbors. As you may have noted, 1832 was at the approx- 
imate end of the first century of the town's official existence. These maps were 
ordered by a vote of the town and the town clerk was directed to issue one to 
every young man upon his reaching the age of "majority" (21). The next map 
in my possession, taken in chronological order, is dated 1857. Next, I have a 
map of 1871. Then there is the map of 1879 which is the clearest and the easiest 
to relate to our times. This map is from the Plymouth County Atlas which was 
issued that same year. There is a large old map of Plymouth County in the Cobb 
Library in Bryantville. On this map, as in a few other cases, the buildings are 
designated and named. Although this practice was common in early maps, with 
the increase in population and the filling in of roads and homes, it is impossible 
to continue the practice. In this connection, it is noted that whenever one sees 
the identifying location of his own "Old Home" on an old map, he feels 
reassured and proud of his special status. And, I may add, he has probably paid 
well for the privilege if he purchased his home in these highly inflated years. 
Another satisfaction in the study of these old maps is to have a visual conviction 
of where some interesting buildings once stood but left no evidence for us late- 
comers to recognize. And then, too, there are some landmarks that still need to 
be pointed out to our young folk or newcomers. As Town Historian, I frequently 
have occasion to point out such places of interest and I certainly like to refer to 
a map to corroborate such evidence. Invariably, if one buys an old home, he or 
she comes to me to help establish its age. It isn't easy since deeds carry no details 
concerning the age of the home, the date of construction, etc. By locating the 
placement of the house on a map of earlier time and setting, and its non- 
inclusion on a map of an even earlier date, we can establish a house's age. This 
is known as the "Bracketing Method." The closer maps are to each other in time, 
the closer we come to dating a home. I have recently come upon a Halifax map 

of 1859. 

Among the many Halifax maps I am familiar with are several geodetic maps 
which show the elevations of the town. One of these maps shows the town of 
Halifax to be ninety feet above sea level at its highest point and fourteen feet at 
its lowest. They are respectively at a point on the steps of the town hall and at a 
point in the bed of the Winnetuxet River just east of the Thompson Bridges on 
Thompson Street. While on the subject of geography let me add that the 42nd 
parallel runs through a small island located between the lakes, called White's 
Island. The height of the water tolerated at Monponsett is fifty-six feet. Also, 
the platform covering the open well at Zillah Bryant's place on Old Plymouth 
Street, which is also my birthplace, is exactly eighty-four feet above sea level. 
As a young man, I worked for Michael Roache's construction firm which did 
much of the pavement work in this area. I spent much of my time working with 
Eddie Coleman, the civil engineer of the company, digging drainage systems, 
gradings, easements, etc. for the roads in this town. It furnished me with a 
knowledge of the topographical features of this section which otherwise I may 
have missed. Three-quarters of a century of living on this soil and any oppor- 
tunities I have had to learn the "lay of the land" in Halifax make me feel as 
though I know the place rather well and have it well-mapped in my mind. 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX I 



Town Moderators (1900-1976) 



Jessie H. Jones 
Ines E. Tickiob 
Fred Simpson 
James T. Thomas 
James W. H. Baker 



James W. Fox 
Charles E. Merrill 
David S. Hamilton 
John J. Rock 
T. P. Eliott-Smith 



Rev. Warren H. Leonard 



APPENDIX II 



Town Clerks 
(List Taken From Beginning of Town Reports, 1859) 



Edwin Inglee 
Andrew Richmond 
Thomas D. Morton 
Nathaniel Morton 
Morton S. Thompson 



George A. Estes 
Nathaniel S. Guptill 
Doris F. Hoinghaus 
Margaret J. Kilroy 
Ruth D. Perkins 



Ruth V. Perkins 



173 



174 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



APPENDIX III 



Town Selectmen 
(List Taken From the Beginning of Town Reports, 1859) 



Charles H. Paine 
Edwin Inglee 
Elbridge Morton 
Abram Bourne 
Ephriam Thompson 
Asaph F. Wood 
James T. Drew 
Nathaniel Morton 
Martin Howland 
Harrison D. Packard 
Van Buren Grover 
Frank W. Lyon 
Sylvanus Bourne 
Jabez P. Thompson 
Cephas Washburn 
Thomas D. Morton 
George W. Sturtevant 
George H. Hayward 
Fred Simpson 
Henry M. Bosworth 
Edwin H. Vaughan 
Bradford B. Waterman 
George A. Estes 



William B. Wood 
Jared B. Baker 
Ralph B. Atwood 
Clarence E. Devitt 
Edwin H. Button 
Nathaniel S. Guptill 
Charles A. Blackman 
William W. Burroughs 
Edward A. Lincoln 
Charles M. Eaton 
Charles A. Donati 
Albert E. Kiernan 
Albert Crompton 
Thomas E. McDonald 
Albert F. Brown 
Guy S. Baker 
Charles E. Merrill 
Francis E. Devlin 
Roland E. Minott 
Russell I. Sturtevant 
Richard E. Moore 
John J. Rock 
Richard Shire 



Albert Bergman 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



175 



APPENDIX IV 



Halifax School Committee 
(List Taken From Beginning of Town Reports, 1859) 



Nathaniel Morton 
Samuel Churchill 
Ira Sturtevant 
Cordelia J. Richmond 
Charles H. Paine 
Harrison D. Packard 
George H. Watson 
James T. Thomas 
Morton Thompson 
Mrs. Sarah E. Paine 
Miss Nellie M. Pope 
George W. Hayward 
George A. Parker 
Mrs. Nellie Thompson 
Samuel W. Gay 
Otis Pratt 

George W. Sturtevant 
Arthur Sturtevant 
E. Laurence Grover 
William B. Wood 
Jabez P. Thompson 
George A. Estes 
Ella F. Baker 
Fred Simpson 
David M. Briggs 
Frank E. Houghton 
Frank D. Lyon 
Miriam Tillson 
Bernice G. Remick 
Lloyd Morton 
Myra Rogers 
Irene G. Harding 



Joseph E. Watson 
Mary J. Schindler 
Edith E. Schweitzer 
Ralph B. Atwood 
Roland H. Minott 
George Holzworth Sr. 
Russell I Sturtevant 
Oscar Gassett 
J. Robert Baker 
James Fox 
Marion E. Stoddard 
Beatrice N. Binns 
John Duffy, Jr. 
Mary Moore 
Anna N. Sturtevant 
Scott K. Smith 
Margaret C. Meyer 
Howard L. Waterman Jr. 
Charles F. Batchelder III 
Margaret T. Fitzgerald 
Pauline Anderson 
Mary Reid 
Thomas F. Weathers 
Merle D. Ott 
William Borhek 
T. P. Elliott-Smith 
Robert Deegan 
Marguerite S. Hammond 
D. Joan Rose 
Ronald P. Gerhart 
Sandra L. Daly 
Robert E. Bergman 



176 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



Silver Lake Regional School Committee 

Richard C. Sturtevant Edward A. Uburtis 

Brendan I. Dalton Charles Kozlowski 

Henry D. Hammond, Jr. Henry B. Belcher, Sr. 

Thomas F. Weathers 



APPENDIX V 



Road Commissioner and Superintendent of Streets— Highway Surveyor 
(List Taken From Beginning of Town Reports, 1859) 



Charles Paine 
Bradford B. Waterman 
Jabez P. Thompson 
William T. Hayward 
Lysander W. Hayward 
Herbert B. Ramsdell 



Roland H. Minott 
Gilbert C. Thompson 
Irving C. Minott 
Franklin Dias 
Ceasar Martin 
Ralph E. Hayward, Jr. 



APPENDIX VI 



Herbert B. Randall 
F. Russell Bonney 
John A. Wood 
Roland H. Minott 



Tree Warden 
(Beginning 1913) 



William Edgar 
George H. Armstrong 
Albert A. Thomas 
Myron G. Wood 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



177 



APPENDIX VII 



Jabez P. Thompson 
Sylvanus Bourne 
Edwin H. Vaughan 
B. B. Waterman 
David M. Briggs 
Gilbert C. Thompson 
E. Laurence Grover 
George A. Estes 
J. Homer Tillson 
Clyde O. Bosworth 



Assessors 
(Since 1890) 



Ralph B. Atwood 
Robert F. Schindler 
George L. McCormack 
Albert Bergman 
Millard H. Thomas 
Francis E. Devlin 
Henry J. Kunkel 
Donald H. Randall 
Alberico Gentile 
William D. Perkins 



APPENDIX VIII 



Frank E. Chaffin 
Frank Waterman 
Frank D. Lyon 
E. Laurence Grover 
William L. Robertson 
Gilbert C. Thompson 
Benjamin Thrasher 
George H. Armstrong 
Orrill C. Cole 
Clyde 0. Bosworth 
Roland H. Minott 
Harry H. Brown 



Park Commissioners 
(Beginning 1914) 



Amos H. Wood Jr. 
Wayland F. Chace 
Myron G. Wood 
Frederick M. Harndon 
Albert F. Brown 
J. Robert Baker 
Clyde O. Bosworth Jr. 
Frank N. Devereux 
Margaret Dobrowsky 
Kathleen C. Kilroy 
Maureen Thomson 
Grace A. Rudolph 



178 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



APPENDIX IX 



Jabez P. Thompson 
Nathaniel S. Gup till 
Doris F. Hoinghaus 



Treasurers 

(In This Century) 



Margaret J. Kilroy 
Ruth D. Perkins 
Ruth V. Perkins 



APPENDIX X 



Tax Collectors 
(In This Century) 



Jabez P. Thompson 
Edwin H. Dutton 
Richard A. Blackman 



Ruth B. Blackman 
Phyllis J. Denault 
Elaine A. Barie 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



179 



APPENDIX XI 



Finance Committee 
(Elected From 1941 Until 1962) 



W. Stanley Brown 
Robert F. Schindler 
Wyman H. Briggs 
Charles E. McCarthy 
Russell I. Sturtevant 
Joseph E. Watson 



Harold I. Barnes 
Roland F. DeConto 
Edmund L. Klimas 
John A. Mullen 
Cesare Gentile 
Richard E. Moore 



APPENDIX XII 



Planning Board 
(Beginning 1945) 



Theodore I. Hall 
Laurence W. Grover 
Wyman H. Briggs 
Edward A. Lincoln 
Robert F. Schindler 
Karl Burgess 
Henry C. Rothenhafer 
Ralph Binns 3rd 
Alfred G. Lunn Jr. 
Donald H. Randall 
Raymond E. Tropp 
O. Howard Worsham 
Harry H. Brown 



John M. McCormick 
JaredJ. Baker 
Robert M. Cunningham 
Kenneth D. Stowell 
Howard L. Waterman Jr. 
Warren Foster 
George J. Cavicchi 
Roger Sturtevant 
Donald H. Randall Jr. 
John Duffy Jr. 
Maureen E. Rogers 
Edward W. Hobbs Jr. 
John A. McPhillips 



180 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



APPENDIX XIII 



Board of Health 
(Beginning 1959) 



Margaret M. McCormick 
Carmen E. Scrow 
Joseph E. Watson 
Jared P. Woodall 
William Curran 
Howard L. Waterman 
James P. Edney 



Franklin Dias 
Glenn D. Perry D.M.D. 
Oscar E. Risberg 
Richard H. Harrison 
Albert Crompton 
Kathleen O'Brien 
Judith Clark 



APPENDIX XIV 



Board of Public Welfare 
(Beginning 1941) 



Clarence E. Devitt 
George H. Armstrong 
Irving Fahrenholt 
Lucy E. Harlow 
Rufus O. Case 
Charles E. McCarthy 



Paul F. Sturtevant 
Mabel B. Hammond 
Henry D. Hammond Sr. 
Robert W. Bartlett 
Albert Bergman 
Raymond Forsstrom 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



181 



APPENDIX XV 



Water Commissioners 
(From 1950) 



Robert E. Keough 
Ernest J. Rioux 
Bernard Sandborn 
Daniel O. Bosworth 
Robert F. Woodbury Sr. 
Albert F. Brown 
J. Gilbert Miller 
Daniel J. Clark 



Francis E. Valentine 
James V. Murphy Jr. 
Edwin M. Hayward 
Robert F. Schindler 
Charles E. Merrill 
Harry L. Brown 
Harry L. Armstrong 
Edward G. Zahn 



APPENDIX XVI 



Library Trustees 
(Elected from 1958) 



Anna L. Devitt 
Beatrice N. Binns 
Dorothy E. Briggs 
Thomas E. McDonald 
Guy S. Baker 
Annie M. Heinonen 
Melvina Thomas 



Thelma G. Clark 



Jean M. Rock 
Anita Batchelder 
Julia Devereux 
Ruth V. Perkins 
Robert Hodge 
Maria Burke 
Edward W. Hobbs Jr. 



182 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX. MASSACHUSETTS 



APPENDIX XVII 



Constables 



William Robertson 
Nathaniel S. Wood 
Robert S. Schindler 

E. Laurence Grover 
Chester W. Waterman 
Wellington W. Holmes 

F. Russell Bonney 
Albert A. Thomas 
John S. Colby 



Charles Donati 
Irving C. Minott 
Orile C. Cole 
Elvin Wood 
George A. Braddock 
Howard A. Waterman 
Leo Hinchey 
Richard A. Bell 
Lewis Baker 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 183 



APPENDIX XVIII 

The Fourth In Halifax 
(From 1867 Middleborough Gazette) 

Independence was celebrated at Halifaix in the most appropriate manner, the 
main feature being the dedication of the Soldier's Monument.— The line of 
procession was taken up at ten o'clock, at the Town House, with E. B. Thomp- 
son, Marshal; Nathaniel Morton, Ezra P. Pope, Morton Thompson, and Nelson H. 
Fuller, Assistant Marshals, and in the following order: 

Stetson's Weymouth Band, 

Co. A., Third Regt, Mass. V. M., as escort, 

Orator of the Day, 

Invited guests, 

Town Officers, 

Surviving Veterans of 1812, of the Halifax 

Light Infantry, 
Citizens of the Town who served in putting 

down the Rebellion, 
Public Schools, 
Citizens 

At the grove owned by Dr. Morton, prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Fobes, 
and an eloquent oration was given by Judge Thomas Russell, in which he traced 
the history of our nation and gave a minute and thrilling account of the Halifax 
soldiers in the late war.— Immediately after the oration, the Judge went through 
by express teams and trains to Lowell, where he had similar engagements. 

The procession was then re-formed and marched to the Monument, where 
prayer was offered, and a dirge was played by the band. From thence the pro- 
cession proceeded to the large tent near the Town House, where after a blessing 
by Rev. Mr. Humphrey, of Plymouth, a bountiful dinner was enjoyed. 

After dinner, the President of the day, C. H. Paine Esq. said: As our theme to 
day has been war, we propose to introduce to you some relics left us by that 
goddess. Allusion was then made to the old Thompson gun, pistol and sword 
which were exhibited. The heroes who fought under Washington are gone, but a 
little remnant of the stalwart men who "marched over South Boston Bridge," 
and held themselves in readiness to fight for the freedom of the ocean, is still 
left us, but the "tall captain" has recently gone to his rest. God has spared to us 
a small band of those who stood between us and rebellion and made it possible 



184 HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 

for us to stand to day under a free constitution. Let us remember the living as 
well as the dead. 

After the band had played the Star Spangled Banner, the following toasts 
were given: — 

"The Citizen Soldiers of our Republic whose valor saved the nation and 
whose work will regenerate the world." Responded to by Hon. C. G. Davis, who 
adopted fully the sentiment just proposed, declaring that our heroes builded 
better than they knew. Before the war, civilization in this country was upon 
the wrong track, rushing down a precipice to destruction. He drew a thrilling 
picture of his feelings on the morning when hostilities commenced, and he met 
the Halifax company in Boston, on its way to the front, and closed by reading 
the following poem written for the occasion, by a friend: 

'Twas in the darkness of the war. 

When our hero brothers left 
Their hearts and homes so dear to them, 

Alas! how soon bereft. 

They gave their precious blood for us, 

That we might all be free, 
And shed upon our favored land. 

The light of liberty. 

So long as time rolls on its course, 

And bears us on its way, 
The glory of their sacrifice 

Will know of no decay. 

Whene're we see this sacred stone. 

Reared to those braves! today, 
Led each one say unto himself, 

I will be true as they. 

Where'er the path of duty leads, 

Where'er she points the way, 
I will buckle on my armor, 

I wi 1 be brave as they. 

Yes, brothers, on this sacred day 

We pledge ourselves anew. 
To keep unsullied to the last. 

The trust received from you. 

"The Loyal Press," brought to his feet Bro. Andrews of the Plymouth Rock 
and Memorial. 

"God the Author and Preserver of Liberty" was responded to by Rev. Mr. 
Humphrey. 

"The National Sacrifice— Its results," Dr. E. H. Cornish of Boston, replying 
made a happy speech. The brief abstract of these speeches that we had prepared, 
we are obliged to omit, for lact of time. 

The dinner which was most excellent— was prepared by the Ladies of the 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 185 

Monumental Society. Arrangements had been made for 513 guests. During the 
day, ice cream confectionery and refreshments were sold for the benefit of the 
association, at the Town Hall. 

The Monument 

Located on the green, and enclosed by an iron fence of beautiful design was 
of course the central attraction.— It was furnished by the Quincy Granite Com- 
pany, at a cost of $1,000. The base is four feet square, the second section 
three feet square, and the shaft twenty-eight inches square at the base, and 
sixteen at the top, with a total height of twenty feet. The lettering is all on the 
north side. On a raised shield are the words "Our Patriot Soldiers, 1867." 
Beneath is a bronze plate with the names of the twenty-four men lost from 
Halifax, as follows, though not in the same order we have given them here: — 

Martin S. Morse, James D. Fuller, Z. L. P. Britton, Wm. H. Fuller, Frederick 
E. Fuller, Horatio W. Cornish, Herbert P. Bosworth, John Wood, B.-F. Durgin, 
Edward Bishop, Nath'l B. Bishop, Lewis S. Wade, Edward A. Richmond, Joseph 
S. W. Richmond, Charles W. Soule, Lorenzo A. Tower, James A. Lyon, Joseph 
L. Melton, Joseph T. Bourne, Abel T. Bryant, Oliver E. Bryant, George Drew, 
3rd, Cyrus Thompson, Luther Hayward. 



INDEX 



Academy, Halifax, 5 1 
American Legion, 72, 83 
Anderson, Anson, 97, 123 
Angus, Ally, 165 
Angus, Hubert A., 91 
Angus, Marion, 70 
Animal Farm, 97, 167 
Armstrong, G. H., 42 
Armstrong, Myrtle, 116 
Atwood, Hazel, 56, 100 
Atwood, Ralph, 100 

Bailey's Barge, 69 

Baker, Miss A., 41 

Baker, Ella, 69 

Baker, Guy, 42 

Baker, Mrs. Guy, 99 

Baker, Jared B., 69, 72, 97,117 

Baker, Robert, 153 

Bartlett Brook, 151 

Bartlett, "Minute Man," 131 

Beaches 

Annawon Drive, 102 

Eleventh Avenue, 102 

Holmes, 102 

Town, 102 

Wamsutta, 107 
Bears, James, 28 
Bearse, John, 24 
Benevolent Society, 65, 69 
Bicycle Shop, 84 
Billings, Lewis, 64 
Bishop, M., 140, 165 
Blackman, Richard, 97 
Blacksmith Shop, 75, 82, 83, 117 
Bonney, Russ & Linda, 110, 123 
Bos'ard, Augustus, 51 
Bos'ard,Cap'n, 45,47,48 
Bosworth, Clyde Otis, 42 
Bosworth, David, 18, 23, 24, 114 
Bosworth, Henry M., 55, 153 
Bosworth, Mrs. H. M., 62 
Bosworth, Marcus, 54 
Bosworth, Martin, 121, 151, 153 
Bosworth, Nehemiah, 37 
Bosworth, Richard, 38, 55 
Bosworth, Ruth, 37 
Bosworth Tavern (Ordinary Inn), 72, 

121, 151 



110, 



Bourne, Lester, 114 
Bourne, Sylvan us, 62 
Boutemain, John, 73 
Boy Scouts of Halifax, 62, 114 
Bradford, "Minute Man," 131 
Bricknell, Anne L., 42 
Bricknell, Clayton A., 42 
Bridges 

Childs, 77, 150 

FuUer, 37 

Hathaway, 150 

Herring Brook, 150 

Monponsett, 150, 151 

Raven, 157 

Thompson, 150, 171 
Bridgewater Trail, 127, 149 
Briggs, David, 62 
Briggs, Ephraim, 37 
Briggs, John, 23, 27 
Briggs, Lewis, 40 
Briggs, Martha, 53 
Brown, Violet, 72, 100 
Bryam, Ebenezer, 169 
Bryant, B., 63 
Bryant, Frank, 63 
Bryant, John, 25 
Bryant, Zillah, 171 
Buckley, Mary, 73 
Bullfrog Creek, 90 
Bunker, WiUiam, 97 
Burrage Cranberry Co., 89, 90, 113, 114, 157 

Canals, 157 

Cape Cod Cranberry Co., 89, 1 13 

Car Wash, 83 

Case, Rufus, 97, 123 

Cedar Swamp, "Great," 75, 157 

Cemeteries, 85 

Central, 75 

East, 101, 149 

Thompson, 75 
Centennial Party, 67 
Centrella, Al & Rose, 110 
Charles, Dr. O. W., 92, 165 
Chase, Charles, 99 

Children of Park's Tavern, The, 54, 100 
Church, Catholic, 110 
Church of Christ (Congregational), 25, 99, 

101 



187 



188 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



buildings, 29, 30 

library, 55 

membership (1734), 25, 26 
Church, Major, 107 
Churchill, Edmund, 63, 103, 155 
Churchill, Samuel, 29 
CimoreUi, Elena Gentile, 110 
Cianfarani, Benjamin, 110, 150 
Civil War Monument, 30, 141 
Clairmont, Jeffrey L., 72 
Clam House, 110 
Clark & Wilson, 110 
Cobb, Ebenezer, 23 
Cobb Library, 57, 161 
Cobb, Rozilla, 57 
Coleman, Eddie, 171 
Cole, Orville, 89 
Cook, Charles, 101, 107, 116 
Corkum Transportation Co., 1 10 
Cotton, John, 24, 26, 27, 28, 35 
Cotton Mill, 85 
Country Club, 72, 100 
Croade, Thomas, 25, 26,27,29,97,121,155 
Crooker, Mary, 65, 67 
Crooker, Melvin, 81 
Crosby, Mrs. William, 128 
Cumberland Farms, 84, 114 
Cushing, Ignatius, 17, 23, 25 
Cushing, Noah, 27, 29 
Cushman, David, 150 

Damon, Henry S., 113 
Darhng, Emma, 41 
Deanne, Eugene J., 42 
Dennet, Esther, 64 
Depot, Halifax, 38,40 
DeSilva, Paul, 104 
DesRosiers, Alfred, 107 
Devitt, Clarence, 42, 97 
Dewhurst, Herman, 42 
Dias, Frank, 82 
Division Club, the, 61, 62 
Donati, Charles, 82 
Donnelly Farm, 84 
Drew, Cosh, 63 
Drew, George, 136 
Drew, Job, 116 
Drew, John, 23 
Drew, Thomas, 130, 133 
Duffy, John, 83,97 
Dunbar, Jesse, 132 
Dunbar Inn, 72, 131 

Eddy, Obediah, 132, 133 
Edgar, Andrena, 73 
Edwards, Robert M., 97, 119 
Ellis, Benjamin, 150 



Estes, Albion, 97 
Estes,G. A.,97, 121 
Estes, George W., 1 10 

Farmers Club, 61,62, 100 

Farmhouse Gift Shop, 97 

Fire Department, 72, 81, 94 

Fire Station, 61, 100 

Fire Truck, 96 

First Church Book, 25 

First Covenant, 25 

First Meeting House, 16, 17 

Forsstrom, Anne, 56 

Franklin, Annette L., 42 

Fuller, A., 63 

Fuller, Ebenezer, 18, 25, 28, 157 

Fuller, Eldridge, 38 

Fuller Mill, 94 

Fuller, Noah, 132 

Fuller, Samuel, 150 

Furnace Street, 94 

Furnaces, 87, 89 

Garages in Halifax 

Bob's, 83 

Bosworth's, 83 

Estes', 83 

Farmers, 83, 97 

Hammond's, 83 

Hank's, 124 

Merrill's, 83 

Sturtevant's, 83, 100 
Gasset, Inez, 56 
Gasset, Oscar, 81, 97 
Gentile, Alberico, 123 
Gentile, Cesare, Jr., 123 
Gentile, Cesare, Sr., 123 
Gentile, Grace, 123 
Gentile's Supermarket, 97 
Good Templars, 61, 62 
Governor's Crossing, 90 
Grange, 63, 69, 70 
Grasshopper cannon, 136 
Gravestone factory, 75 
Great River, 155 
Grover, E. Laurence, 55 
Grover, Van Buren, 62, 100, 113 
Gummow, Henry, 114 

Halifax Dramatic Society, 62 
Halifax Garden Co., 103, 113 
Halifax Light Infantry, 136 
Hammond, Henry, 124 
Hammond, Mabel, 124 
Hancock, John, 61 
Harden, Nathaniel, 149 
Harding, Harry, 97 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



189 



Harlow, Eliot, 42 

Harlow, George, 134 

Harlow, Lucy, 135 

Harris, Benjamin W., 38 

Harris, Judge Robert O., 121 

Harrison, Richard, 99 

Hathaway Hill, 73, 77 

Hay scales, 121 

Hayward, Clifford, 82 

Hayward, George, 114 

Hayward, Ralph, 100 

Hayward, Ralph E., Jr., 82 

Hayward, W.T., 62 

Hayward's Liquor Store, 100 

Haywood, Lysander, 42, 123 

Henrich, Edward G., 123 

Henrich, Lawrence, 100 

Herring River, 75, 85, 87, 149, 150 

Highway Department, 82 

Historical Society, 64, 97 

Hobomocks, 8 

Hoinghaus, Doris, 8, 99 

HoUis, Mrs. Alton, 153 

Hollis, William, 92 

Holmes, Abbie, 63 

Holmes, Ebenezer, 42 

Holmes, Dr. Howland, 55, 56, 59 

Holmes, John, 55 

Holmes, Nathaniel, 102 

Holmes, Sarah Eddy, 55 

Holmes, Thomas, 29 

Holmes, William, 150 

Howard, Abial, 24 

Hoyt, Edith, 56 

Humphrey, Frances A., 38, 45, 54, 72, 100 

Hunt, Dr. Will, 165 

Improvement Society, 70 

Incorporation (1734), 23 

Indians, 128 

Indian Trail, 37,75, 114, 149 

Inglee's Store, 97, 121 

Iron Ore, 85, 87 

Iron Ore Brook, 87, 90 

Iron Ore Gultch, 87 

Jewett, Mrs., 99 
Jones, Elizabeth, 55 
Jones, J. L., 42, 55 
Jussila, Samuel, 73 

Keith, Ephraim, 24 
King, Alex, 97, 123 
King, David, 123 
King Philip, 127, 128 
King's Supermarket, 57, 83, 97 
Plaza, 153 



Kiwanis, 72 

Kitty's Restaurant, 153 

Krause, Fred, 102 

Landry, John, 55 
Lane, Frank, 153 
Latham Maps, 149, 169 
Leach, John, 24 
Leach, Simon, 128 
Leach, William, 63 
Leach's Landing, 85 
Leonard, Captain, 37 
Library, 55,99 

rules and regulations, 58 

trustrees, 55, 56 
Lindberg, Charles, 159 
Lions Club, 72 
Long Bridge, 150 
Lucas, Martin, 40 
Lunn, Alfred, Jr., 97, 116 
Lunn, Prof. Alfred, 97, 116 
Lyon, Bertha, 121 
Lyon, Charles P., 137, 138 
Lyon, Edwin, 29 
Lyon, Frank, 62, 97 
Lyon, George F., 63 
Lyonville, 136, 153 

Maki, Samuel, 73 
Malaney, Frank, 117 
Manor, Lakeview, 110 
Maps of Halifax 

1734, 168 

1832, 170 

Present-day, 171 
Marshall, Bert, 109 
Marston, Nymphus, 103 
Martin, Ceasar, 83 
Massasoit, 127 
Mayflower League, 63 
McVicar, James, 73 
Merton, Mrs., 101 

Militia Company, 61, 134, 135, 136, 137 
Ministers, 33 
Minor, Harry, 97, 123 
Minott, Irving, 82, 114 
Minott, Roland H., 82 
Monponsett Bridge, 150, 151 
Monponsett Brook, 94 
Monponsett Hotel, 61, 72, 128 
Monponsett Pond, 63, 72 
Morton's Corner, 153 
Morton, Eldridge, 29, 151 
Morton, Joanna, 50 
Morton, Nathaniel, 137 
Morton, Thomas D., 56, 69 
Morton, Mrs. T. D., 62, 103 



190 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



Nessralla Stand, 100 
New Ideas Club, 62 

Old Bridgewater Road, 102 

Old Colony Nursery, 96, 101, 103 

Ordinary Inn, 121 

Osbourne, Lucretia, 41 

Otto, Carl, 121 

Oxen, 159, 160 

Packard Bros., 121 
Packard's Pasture, 42 
Paine, Charles, 62, 136 
PalmerSawMill, 23, 91 
Paradise Lane, 104 
Parker, A. R., 107 
Parks 

Otto's, 121 

Richmond, 149 
Parent Teachers Association, 72 
Parris, Benjamin, 132, 133 
Patton, Reverend, 27 
Perkins, Nat, 97, 121 
Perry, O.B., 165 
Peterson, Hazel, 70 
Plymouth Trail, 75 
Plympton, 23 
Police Department, 81 
Poole, Eliah, 136 
Poole, John, 38, 79 
Poole, Sarah E., 67 
Pope, Mrs. Alexander, 165 
Pope, Nellie, 41,73 
Pope's Tavern, 72, 100, 136 
Porter, C. G. M., 62 
Porter, H. M., 62, 63 
Porter, Jonathan, 134 
Post Office, 55,79, 89,99, 121 
Poultry, 96 
Pratt, Austin, 63 
Pratt, Otis, 62 
Primes, St. Clair, 62 
Pumery, Francis, 23 

Railroads, 103 

HaUfax Station, 39 

Monponsett Station, 107 
Ramsdell, Herbert, 64, 82 
Ramseyer, Edward, 99 
Raven Brook, 157 
Record Book (1792), 19 
Remick, Bertram, 64 
Revolutionary War Monument, 131, 132 
Richmond, Lucy, 63 
Rigo, Joseph, Sr., 97 
Ripley, Perez, 133 
Roache, Michael, 171 



Robinson, Bill, 165 
Rockland Trust Co., 97 
Route 58, 149 
Route 105, 149 
Rudolph, William, 153 

Sampson, Dominic, 52 
Schindler, Maurice, 72, 107 
Schindler, Molly, 107 
Schindler, Robert, 107 
Schools 

Cap'n Bos'ard's Wife's School, 45-54 

Central school, 40, 42 79 

Dame school, 35 

Easterly school, 37 

Elm Street school, 37 

First school, 35, 103 

Grover's Corner school, 37, 100 

High school, 41,42 

Moving school, 35, 97 

Prudential committee, 37, 38, 40, 92 

Regional planning committee, 44 

School committee, 40, 41, 42, 44 

Sessions, 37 

Superintendent, 40 

Thompson Street school, 37 

Town Hall school, 41 

Transportation, 41, 42 

Traveling school, 35 
Scrow, Carmen, 123 
Sears, Holmes, 37 
Sears, Jonathan, 35, 99 
Sewing Circle, 61, 64, 65, 67 
Silver Lake, 8, 72, 153 

Pumping Station, 104 
Simpson, Fred, 55, 69, 97, 1 14 
Snake River, 87,90 
Snell, Oliver, 38 
Snow's Lodge, 62 
Sodom Woods, 73 
Soule, Aroline, 65, 141 
Soule, Charles, 141 
Soule, Jabez, 29, 81 
Soule, John, 57, 141 
Soule, Nathan, 153 
Squeers, Mr., 46 
Standish, John, 132, 133 
Standish, Moses, 25, 27 
Stone Weir, 75,87,90, 149 
Stranger, Edward, 132, 133 
Stump Pond, 62, 72, 87, 90, 121 
Sturtevant, Ernest, 62, 167 
Sturtevant, George, 62, 114 
Sturtevant, Hannah, 27 
Sturtevant, Ira, 29,41 
Sturtevant, Isaac, 107 
Sturtevant, James, 25, 150 



HISTORY OF HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS 



191 



Sturtevant, John, 41, 101, 155 

Sturtevant, Josiah, 26 

Sturtevant, Paul, 110 

Sturtevant, Samuel, 18, 23, 37, 132 

Sturtevant, Seth, 132 

Sturtevant, Simeon, 73 

Sturtevant, Stafford, 38,40,45,54,100,101 

Sturtevant, William E., 73 

Sturtevant, Zena, 38 

Sturtevant's Sturdy Chicks, 97, 100 

Taft, Nellie I., 54, 101, 107 

Taunton River, 140 

Tetraut, Peter, 116 

Tewksbury, Charles, 97 

Thomas, Mrs. Albert, 73 

Thomas, Hilda, 24, 56, 62 

Thomas, Rev. James T., 56, 62, 69, 137 

Thomas, Nettie, 57, 61, 67 

Thompson, Mrs. Albert, 67 

Thompson, Asa, 135 

Thompson, Mrs. Cyrus, 65 

Thompson, Elroy, 62, 101 

Thompson, Ephrin B., 29 

Thompson, Gilbert, 82 

Thompson, Jabe, 42, 55, 62, 73 

Thompson, John F., 41, 127, 128 

Thompson, J. P., 63, 114 

Thompson, Morton, 62, 63 

Thompson, Noah, 131 

Thompson, Samuel, 169 

Thompson Street story, 73 

Thompson, Zebediah, 79 

Thomson, Barnabus, 24, 25 

Thomson, Isaac, 23 

Thomson, M. E., 37 

Tillson, Abbie, 63 

Tillson, Homer, 69, 167 

Tillson, Leonard, 63 

Tillson, Mrs. Wilham, 67 

Tillson, William, 69,87, 160 

Tinkham, Isaac, 24, 25 

Tinkham, Nathan, 25 

Tinkham Rock, 137 

Tombs, 75 

Tomson, Barnabus, 28, 150 

Tomson cabin, 128 

Tomson, Ebenezer, 27, 29, 133, 134 

Tomson, Jacob, 26, 132 

Tomson, John, 77, 104, 155 

Tomson, Levi, 134 

Tomson, Peter, 37 

Tomson, Thomas, 24, 25 

Toto's Restaurant, 107 

Town Assembly, 42 

Town Hall, 19,41,42,55 

Tramp house, 79 



Trunk Meeting House, 22 
Turkey Swamp, 94 

Universalist Church, 153 
Urann, Marcus, 167 
Uston, John, 110 

Vaughan, Edwin H., 55, 124 
Vault (Town Hall), 65 
V.F.W. Building, 104 

Wampatuck, Josiah, 128 

Wamsutta, 8, 107, 127, 128, 155 

Washburn, Cephus, 140 

Washburn, Chester, 79 

Washburn, C. P. Lumber Co., 103 

Washburn, Mary, 63 

Washingtonians, 61, 62 

Water Department, 82 

Watering places, 77, 151 

Waterman, Brad, 1 14 

Waterman, Freeman, 133 

Waterman, Isaac, 37 

Waterman, John, 25, 132 

Waterman, Leander, 40 

Waterman, Priscilla, 49 

Waterman, Robert, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29 

Waterman, Samuel, 28 

Waterman, Seth, 132 

Waterman, William, 38 

Watson, John, 117, 119 

Watson, Joseph, 97 

Webster, Daniel, 72, 135 

White, C, 104 

White family, 107 

White, I. Q., 167 

Whitney, Charles, 140 

Widgeon Point, 72 

Willet, Arthur, 123 

Willet Store, 116 

Willette, W. H., 56 

Winchester, C. R., 104 

Wine Brook Bog, 89, 114 

Winnetuxet River, 150, 155, 171 

Wood, Eben, 42, 61,63, 70 

Wood, Ebenezer, 75 

Wood, Freddie, 63 

Wood, Myron, 44 

Wood, Judah, 132, 151 

Wood, WiUiam, 94 

Wood, Timothy, 24, 135 

Woodcroft Farm, 99 

World War I Honor Roll, 144 

World War II Honor Roll, 145 

Young, Honorable Welcome, 38, 121 
Young, Atty. William, 150 






f.V 




MAP FROM 1879 



In his Introduction, Guy Baker discusses the various reasons why he has felt 
motivated to produce (in pictures and text) a history of HaHfax. 

"It has long been my continuing hope that the story of HaUfax would some- 
day be recorded in a readable and hopefully an interesting manner. Ours has 
been a long career as a township and we relinquish seniority to but few other 
townships in the entire community of Plymouth County, as well as other parts 
of early America. 

"My association with my birthplace has gone on virtually uninterrupted for a 
goodly part of a century— more than three score years and ten, and approaching 
the time when I will admit to four score years of close association with Halifax, 
Massachusetts 02338. 

"In the capacity of Town Historian, one receives many requests that place 
him squarely in the category of a genealogist. It's a pleasant duty and a fre- 
quently rewarding one since I often come across snatches of information about 
Halifax and the people who lived here in the long ago. They had the 'calhng of 
the tune,' so to speak and it has been very interesting to record their activities. 

"In summary, I have turned back all of the pages of my material, beginning 
•with the sketchy past that only the true Americans— the Indians— knew and lived 
and that we, in turn, have shaped into a tradition giving us the Hiawathas, 
Pocahontases, Wamsuttas, Massasoits and King Philips. The picture has been 
horrified at times with the shadow of the tomahawk and the scalp-taking which, 
incidentally, the white man introduced to the Indian. These things and more 
form the vague silhouette that was the very early America. Our hosts, the Indians, 
could have been more inhospitable as we stalked onto their land, flaunting our 
firing pieces and stealing their corn. I have reviewed the explorations of the 
early settlers as they followed the streams that flowed through the uplands to 
reach the coastHne. Thus did Captain Jones find Silver Lake. The waterways 
were the avenues of adventure to the heartlands that made up this country. 
Wamsutta traveled the great river to sojourn on the island in our twin lakes. The 
Hobomocks spread out over the upper regions that held the headwater of the 
North River. And into the midst of this, the first settlers of HaHfax laid their 
foundations for shelter and, soon, their permanent homes. Through the stream 
of humans who have passed this way there have been woven strains identifying 
backgrounds from far away. Such is the case with all of us, I suspect, and my 
own line has been intermingled with the hosts that make up the parade. I am a 
product of this grouping and what I put on these sheets is my digest as it has been 
processed in my head through this last three-quarters of a century. No causes 
or effects have been my aims— no desire to weigh the virtues of one period of 
time over another. I am not obsessed with the desire to compare— merely to 
get into recognizable form the many bits of information about our past that I 
have had the good fortune to come upon."